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The release of the first-ever estimates on stillbirth by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) include the number of babies that are stillborn every year, as a result of pregnancy and birth-related complications, the absence of health workers and basic services. The report includes new data on the additional babies that could be stillborn due to COVID-19 related disruptions in child and maternal health services. The release is intended to increase visibility for this neglected tragedy and drive government action to address stillbirths. 

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The latest 2019 annual report of the Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund (MHTF), which marks the first year of implementation of MHTF Phase III, highlights UNFPA's key strategies and achievements to end preventable maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and accelerate the progress towards universal health coverage.

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This report highlights new data from Johns Hopkins University which demonstrates significant progress on eliminating fistula and ushers in a new era in which elimination of the condition by 2030 is within our reach. It also features a heightened focus on ensuring human rights, gender equality and empowerment of women and girls to end fistula; the centrality of ending obstetric fistula by 2030 as a critical step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; the crucial need to extend universal health coverage to all women and girls, everywhere; the importance of ending fistula to realizing the vision and promise of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the Nairobi Summit; and the need for intensified and accelerated investment and action to end fistula by 2030.  

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Limited data are available on COVID-19 in pregnancy, but the studies published to date do not show an increased risk of severe disease in late pregnancy or substantial risk to the newborn. 

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The third phase of UNFPA’s Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund (MHTF), from 2018 to 2022, lays out a roadmap for providing maternal and newborn health through a people-centered, human rights-based approach. Fully aligned to UNFPA’s Strategic Plan (2018-2021), the MHTF directly contributes to UNFPA’s transformative result of “ending preventable maternal deaths.”

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The Resolution calls upon States and the international community to accelerate actions to end fistula and reiterates the need for urgent efforts and significantly increased investment to improve maternal health by addressing sexual and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

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This report reviews the last year of Phase II, 2017, which contributed to averting 119,127 maternal deaths since 2008. It provides an overview of Phase II as a whole and concludes with lessons learned and a look forward to Phase III, which started in 2018, guided by a business plan available here.

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The United Nations Secretary-General report calls for developing a global action plan to end fistula within a generation.

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The Maternal Health Thematic Fund (MHTF) is UNFPA's flagship programme for accelerating improved maternal health. Since its inception in 2008, it has contributed to averting an estimated 92,000 maternal deaths through strategic interventions in 39 countries with the highest maternal mortality and morbidity rates. 

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The Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues of the United Nations General Assembly calls in the new resolution upon the international community to end fistula within a generation.

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