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On the 9th of May 2014, the government of Cameroon, under the High Patronage of the First Lady, Ms. Chantal Biya launched its National and Multisectoral Programme to Reduce Maternal and Child Mortality (2014-2018). The opening ceremony was attended by 5 Ministers as well as high level Representatives from the Prime-Ministers office, multilateral and bilateral development partners, private sector enterprises and civil society organizations. The high level and broad scope of attendees illustrates determination among decision makers across the different sectors of society to prevent avoidable deaths among women and children. This joint resolve is reflected in the Program Slogan: The Nation Cares.

In Cameroon, far too many women die while giving birth and far too many children die before they reach the age of 5 years. Every year, more than 7.000 women die due to pregnancy related causes in Cameroon, as do 58.000 children under 5;

On an average day 20 woman and 160 children will die. Over ninety-seven percent (97%) of these deaths are avoidable. While child mortality has slightly decreased during the last decades, maternal mortality has almost doubled from 430 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1998 to 782 deaths in 2011. Hence, Cameroon is not expected to meet MDG4 and MDG5 by the 2015 target date.

The launch of this new program reflects growing recognition at both national and international levels, that preventing avoidable maternal and child death requires multisectoral, coordinated and adequately financed action. Offering health services is important but is not enough. The efforts taken by the Ministry of Health to offer quality health services need to be complemented by a coordinated set of actions taken by other sectors to facilitate access to health services, promote behavior change, prevent infections, strengthen monitoring systems, increase the availability of resources, etc. Effectively reducing maternal and child mortality requires that all actors unite behind a common strategy in a complementary and coordinated manner. That is exactly what Cameroon’s Multisectoral Programme is about: 1 plan, 1 budget, 1 coordination platform and 1 M&E framework. The program aims to reduce maternal and child mortality by 25% in a period of 5 years (2014-2018).









Launching Ceremony attended by the Minister of Health, the Minister of Communication, The Ministry of Youth and Civil Education, The Minister of Basic Education, The minister of Higher Education, a Representative of The Prime-Minister’s Office, the Ambassador of Germany, The country Representative of W.H.O, the country Representative of UNFPA and others.

Key roles have been assigned to 12 ministries, to civil society, to the private sector and to the development partners. Ministries as diverse as the Ministry of Basic Education, the Ministry of Water and the Ministry of Finance are involved.

The multisectoral programme will be coordinated by the Ministry of Health and was developed with support from a wide range of multilateral, bilateral and national development partners. As one of the government’s key-partners in the fight against maternal and newborn mortality, UNFPA spearheaded the provision of technical assistance to formulate and budget the national programme. The average annual cost of the programme are estimated at $60 million.   Two UN agencies, UNFPA and WHO, are members of the national comite of this program and will serve to inform.

“The Nation Cares”, the Programme slogan, symbolizes a national sense of solidarity, empathy and commitment. Stakeholder now need to put their money where their mouth is and demonstrate that the Nation truly Cares so that tens of thousands of lives can be spared.