Model UN: Transitioning Maternal Health to the Post 2015 Development Agenda

4 July 2014, Harare- The 2014 edition of Zimbabwe Model United Nations took place at the Parliament House convening students from 32 schools to debate on “Maternal Health MDG targets and the Post 2015 Development Agenda”.

Honourable Edna Madzongwe, President of the Senate, officially opening the Model UN said “The United Nations is an opportune platform where our localized common problems are given global amplified voices. I am pleased  to note that this topic on maternal health resonates with the currmodel_un_session (41 of 170)_0.jpgent discourse on the African development issues and I would like to thank the United Nations in Zimbabwe for availing this opportunity to our youngsters.”

Addressing the participants of Model UN, Mr. Reza Hossaini, Acting UN Resident Coordinator said, “The theme for the UN model shows that the UN system is very much about saving lives and changing lives for better.”

Child-bearing is a normal and most of maternal deaths can be avoided. Most of maternal deaths occur because of delays in seeking medical attention, poor transport network, the shortage of doctors and midwives, lack of equipment to treat emergency complications, and cultural and religious beliefs surrounding pregnancy and delivery.

The acting Resident Coordinator highlighted, “The national census released in 2012 shows that maternal mortality has come down to 525 deaths per 100,000 live births. That is a 50% decline in 10 years. Last month, ZIMSTAT just concluded a national survey which we are extremely confident will show an even further decline in the maternal mortality ratio.”

“We are here to celebrate these gains that Zimbabwe has made in reducing maternal deaths and debating how we can accelerate in the future this reduction”, added Mr. Hossaini.

The acting Resident Coordinator said, “It has been a long, hard road to get maternal mortality to where it is today. None of this would have happened without the tenacity and commitment of the Government, donors, development partners, the United Nations, and other players. Their hard work is slowly beginning to pay off.” Mr. Hossaini challenged the students and their classmates to advocate and fight teenage pregnancy, early marriage, sexual violence and abuse as well as encouraged them to participate in increasing communities’ awareness on the need for expecting mothers to delivering in health facilities.

In a statement read on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Mumbengegwi, noted “As we move forward in evaluating policies to curb maternal mortality beyond 2015, it is important to take stock of the lessons learnt from the experience of the MDGs.”

The Millennium Declaration, Hon. Mumbengegwi said, provided a clear and valid expression of the core values that should continue to underpin development in coming decades. He further noted, “The post-2015 framework should include concrete goals, targets and indicators, preferably with longer time horizons with intermediate milestones.”

The 2014Model UN is an advocacy programme aiming to impart the values and work of the UN system to students and the general public.

Read the statement by the Acting UN Resident Coordinator