UN agencies work to combat maternal and child mortality in Burundi

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced today they are working with local authorities in southern Burundi to combat maternal and child mortality there.

As part of a new program in Makamba, Burundi's southernmost province, new medical equipment has been distributed to several health centres there, and an ambulance has been stationed nearby, so that emergency cases can immediately be transferred to the country's capital, Bujumbura.

WHO says that three out of every four pregnancy- and birth-related deaths in the province could easily be prevented if appropriate care is given to mothers during pregnancy and delivery.

A reduction by two-thirds of the mortality rate among children under five and a reduction by three-quarters of the maternal mortality ratio by the year 2015 are two of the targets comprising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were drawn up at the UN Millennium Summit five years ago to slash a host of socio-economic ills.