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September 21, 2010 (All day)

The Test of Political Leadership: Valuing Maternal Health

As seen in the Huffington Post on 21 September 2010. To read more about the Honorable Mary Robinson's recent visit to Sierra Leone and her meeting with His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma, click here.

World leaders are finally paying attention to a long under-prioritized global challenge - protecting women's health.

In June, G8 leaders meeting in Canada committed significant new resources for improving maternal and child health in the poorest nations. In July, the African Union Heads of State Summit in Kampala was dedicated to Maternal and Child Health. Plans for the launch by the UN Secretary General of a new Global Strategy on Women's and Children's Health are underway. And at the upcoming UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals, perhaps the largest ever gathering of heads of state will recommit to dramatically reducing the number of maternal deaths and increasing access to reproductive health services by 2015.

These are all welcome developments but the true test of political leadership lies not in global summits and strategies. Improving women's health requires leadership closer to home.

To learn more about improving leadership for women's health, please see the original article at The Huffington Post.

Ernest Bai Koroma is the president of Sierra Leone. Mary Robinson is a former president of Ireland and currently president of Realizing Rights.

The Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health (MLI) is in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone to support the government's recent launch of the Free Care program for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five. MLI works to advance country ownership and leadership in three inter-related policy areas:  health financing to ensure sustainable health care for all; donor alignment to ensure that donors work together to support country led priorities; and reproductive health because the health of women is central to the health and stability of communities and nations.