Press Release

UN Summit Launches Drive to Save the Lives of More than 16 Million Women and Children

22 September 2010
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS—Culminating a global summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Heads of State and Government, along with the private sector, foundations, international organizations, civil society and research organizations, kicked off a concerted world-wide effort to save the lives of more than 16 million women and children. At a special UN event to launch the “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health”, stakeholders pledged over $40 billion in resources for women’s and children’ health.

“We know what works to save women’s and children’s lives, and we know that women and children are critical to all of the MDGs,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Today we are witnessing the kind of leadership we have long needed.”

Investing in the health of women and children is not only the right thing to do; it also builds stable, peaceful and productive societies. It reduces poverty, stimulates economic growth, it’s cost-effective, and it helps women and children realize their fundamental human rights.

“The government of the United Republic of Tanzania is highly committed to achieving MDG 4 and 5 and fully supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health,” said H.E. Mizengo Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania.

"The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health is a true global effort,” said Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. "Never have so many come together to save the lives of women and children. Women and children are at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals and success on the health Millennium Goals will help drive success on all the MDGs."

Global strategy provides roadmap for saving lives

The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, led by the UN Secretary-General, is a roadmap that identifies the finance and policy changes needed as well as critical interventions that can and do improve health and save lives. The Global Strategy lays out an approach for global, multi-sector collaboration.

“The United States congratulates the Secretary-General for this remarkable effort, both for the breadth of partners he has convened—including governments, multilateral organizations, civil society organizations, philanthropists, and corporations—and for the substantial commitments made in response to his call for action,” said United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We welcome the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which highlights the importance of investing in women and girls to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. We look forward to working with the Secretary General and the important partners he has brought together to address maternal and child health -- an issue that deserves to be at the top of our development agenda.”

“I applaud the initiative taken by the Secretary-General in formulating the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. The launch of the Global Strategy is a recognition that the health and well-being of women and children is of great value,” said Ms. K. Sujatha Rao, Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Ministry of India.

International organizations join forces

To help ensure the Global Strategy is successful, several international organizations including UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO and the World Bank are collaborating to mobilize ongoing political and operational support, including fighting for universal access to care for all women and children, and ensuring women and girls have a fair and equal opportunity to health and life. This team will identify and connect resources to the people who need them based on the priorities set by countries’ national health plans.

In addition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria are working with this team to ensure integration of services and efforts across a broad range of health needs.

“The Global Strategy asks us to be smart, strategic, and resourceful as never before,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General for the World Health Organization. “By integrating their actions, the eight international health-related agencies will strengthen capacities across the board, in ways that meet the comprehensive needs of women and children.”

Major returns on investment

The gains from implementing the Global Strategy will be enormous.

- Between 2011 and 2015, the deaths of more than 15 million children under five would be prevented, as well as 33 million unwanted pregnancies and the deaths of 740,000 women from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth.

- A further 88 million children under five would be protected from stunting and 120 million would be protected from pneumonia.

Putting women at the centre

“Women deliver for their families, communities and nations. Now it is time to deliver for women! Advancing the health and rights of women is one of the greatest social causes of our time,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Populations Fund. “To improve women's health and achieve the health related MDGs, we need to address inequities, engage communities and scale up reproductive health services.”

Since the Joint Effort on Women’s and Children’s Health was launched in April 2010, many partners have come forward with ambitious pledges to do more for women’s and children’s health. These pledges will ensure more health for the money, through better and more focused use of all available resources. They also represent more money for health. Today’s launch represents a major step towards filling the gap between the investment needed and what is currently provided for women’s and children’s health – with over $40 billion in resources over the next five years. These resources will be measured and tracked to ensure accountability for commitments, actions and results.
 

CONTACTS:
Pragati Pascale
Email:  pascale@un.org
Tel:  +1 917 587 8549

Lyndon Haviland
Email:  Lyndon@haviland.net
Tel:  +1 860 575 7691

Katja Iversen
Email:  iversen@unfpa.org
Tel:  +1 212 297 5016