ETHIOPIA—The African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, and in coordination with the East Africa Community, has launched the CARMMA Plus campaign.

This initiative aims to provide a platform for the East Africa Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to convene stakeholders, foster country ownership and leadership, and secure technical and financial support for the campaign.

The launch coincided with the Eastern Africa Regional Early Childhood Conference held from March 11 to March 14, 2024, in the United Republic of Tanzania, under the theme: “Investing in early childhood: Building Human Capital along the life course.”

At its core, the campaign seeks to advocate for sustained improvements in reproductive health for women, children, and adolescents by 2030 across all EAC partner States.

It aims to raise awareness among stakeholders about the CARMMA Plus Agenda and galvanize regional ownership and leadership within the East Africa Community to ensure accountability.

 Moreover, the campaign aims to maintain momentum for stakeholders’ efforts in the EAC region, highlighting their contributions to Reproductive Maternal, Newborn/Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), with a focus on enhancing reproductive health outcomes for women, children, and adolescents by 2030.

The campaign will also prioritize the strengthening of coordination mechanisms between the Ministries of Health in the EAC region and encourage increased domestic investments in RMNCAH by sharing experiences and best practices from EAC Partner States.

Originally launched in May 2009, the campaign on accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Africa (CARMMA) was established as an initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC) to address high pregnancy-related deaths and promote the implementation of the 2006 Maputo Plan of Action (MPoA).

The evaluation of the CARMMA campaign in 2019 underscored its relevance and effectiveness in improving RMNCAH indicators across African Union Member States.

As a result, the Commission developed a new roadmap and accountability partnership framework for reinforcing the campaign, which was endorsed by the AU Policy Organs in 2022.

The next phase of the CARMMA Plus 2021–2030 implementation focuses on the unfinished Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) health agenda for women, newborns, children, and adolescents.

The CARMMA Plus will incorporate elements of Africa’s transformative Agenda 2063, the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the revised African Health Strategy 2016-2030, the revised Maputo Plan of Action (2016-2030) for women and children, and the AU continental strategy on education for health and well-being of young people.

The campaign will focus on developing and enhancing RMNCAH accountability relationships, as well as improving RMNCAH policies and service quality through leadership and governance improvements.

CARMMA Plus also aims to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) outcomes for adolescents by increasing access to information and services and building knowledge management and learning systems.

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