Regional Reproductive Health Task Force in Africa.

The third meeting of the Regional Reproductive Health Task Force in Africa ended on October 8, 2004, in Harare, Zimbabwe, with a recommendation for the establishment of a special fund for the acceleration of work to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in the African Region. The proposed fund would be used to implement inter-country activities in support of national maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality programmes and enhance the utilisation of resources.

In a consensus statement on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), the Task Force noted that although TBAs were not 'skilled attendants' as internationally defined, the majority of deliveries in the Region occurred outside health facilities with a significant proportion of women assisted by TBAs. The statement called on countries in the Region to 'develop a plan for phasing out the use of TBAs, preferably by 2015, with a focus on a human resources development plan that will include strategies for producing, deploying and retaining smiled attendants.' In the interim, however, the scope of work of TBAs should be redefined with a focus on building their capacity to enable them to continue with the leadership role they...

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