In a renewed push to tackle preventable maternal and newborn deaths, the UK government joined forces with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development in New York.

The event underscored the urgent need for global cooperation and country leadership to achieve the ambitious target of ending these deaths by 2030.

Andrew Mitchell, the UK's Minister for Development and Africa, announced a significant £5.83 million (Sh976 million) investment for a new Maternal and Newborn Health programme.

This initiative, delivered through the Vodafone Foundation, will focus on bolstering support for marginalized women, strengthening local midwifery services, and establishing an innovative m-mama emergency transport system in Kenya.

The m-mama system leverages mobile technology to connect pregnant women with the critical care they require during childbirth and pregnancy.

"Sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental not only for individual well-being, but also for building stronger and healthier communities," Mitchell emphasised.

"This UK programme, with its £5.83 million investment, will prioritize the most vulnerable women, enhance the capacity of local midwives, and support governments in developing essential emergency transport systems for expectant mothers. By working together, we can create a brighter future where every mother and child has the opportunity to thrive."

While significant progress has been made in recent decades, with a 34 per cent decline in maternal mortality rates worldwide, the journey towards achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has encountered a roadblock.

Investment in sexual and reproductive health rights, along with efforts to reduce maternal mortality, have stagnated midway through the target period.

The stark reality is that every two minutes, one woman and nearly five newborns tragically lose their lives due to preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

This united front presented by the UK and the UNFPA serves as a catalyst for further advancements and underscores the importance of setting clear and measurable targets at the upcoming UN General Assembly Summit of the Future.

By prioritizing the fight against preventable maternal and newborn deaths, the international community can pave the way for a healthier future for mothers and children globally.