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Published: Saturday May 12, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday May 26, 2013 MYT 11:23:06 AM

Malaysia to host world conference on maternal mortality issues

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will become the first Asian nation to host a world conference dedicated to reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

The Global Women Deliver Conference 2013, the third in the series, is expected to attract 5,000 delegates and generate an estimated RM47.4 million in economic impact.

The conference has been held in London and Washington previously.

Malaysia was chosen to be the host country due to its status as a fast-growing democratic and liberal progressive country with stability and sound socio economic and developmental policies, said Datuk Dr Raj Karim, a consultant of Women Deliver.

Women Deliver, which has its headquarters in New York, is a global advocacy organisation which brings together voices from around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.

It will organise the conference with the support of the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB).

Dr Raj said Malaysia had been noted for its efforts to improve women's health and reduce maternal mortality as a national initiative and a national priority long before international agencies called for attention to lower maternal mortality.

She said the selection of Malaysia as the venue of the conference was based on the government's commitment to improve the health of the people.

"Malaysia is internationally recognised for its comprehensive and well-planned health care system reaching out to remote rural populations and providing free or affordable health care across all ages.

"In fact, Malaysia has one of the best primary health care service delivery systems in the region or even globally," she said.

Dr Raj said that by hosting the conference, Malaysia would have an opportunity to share its experience with other lesser developed countries with high maternal mortality and learn of new advances and modern technology that can save women's lives and improve their health.

The conference could also provide a platform for participating countries to share their experiences on elimination of poverty, empowerment of women and education of girls, which are crucial to improving women's health, she said.

Dr Raj said Malaysia provided a compelling setting for the conference as the country aimed to work globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goals which called for reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

More information on the conference can be obtained from http://www.womendeliver.org/. - Bernama

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