UNFPA Patron in Mozambique
- 14 November 2012
Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, a UNFPA Patron and global advocate for the right to sexual and reproductive health, visited Mozambique last week to gain new insights and understanding of the nature of UNFPA's work at the national level. She was accompanied by Christian Friis Bach, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation.
UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin joined the Crown Princess at the onset of the visit in meetings with Mozambique's Prime Minister and Minister of Health. In those meetings, the UNFPA chief emphasized the importance of sexual reproductive health for youth and women in the context of the broader development agenda in Mozambique.
From meeting with ministers in Maputo, the capital, the Crown Princess continued her journey, interacting with UNFPA's civil society partners, youth associations and leaders, fistula survivors, traditional birth attendants and community leaders. She also welcomed newborn babies who had been brought into the world under safe conditions and with skilled attendance at the maternity ward in Dondo District Hospital in Sofala Province.
Through her encounters with Mozambican women and youth, the Crown Princess developed a more thorough understanding of the successes and challenges that constitute the work of UNFPA in a national context. On several occasions during the visit, she engaged directly in lively dialogue with the young people of Mozambique, who constitute more than 60 per cent of Mozambique's population.
"Meeting with dedicated young people who teach their peers about family planning, reproductive health and rights and the challenges their generation are facing had a strong impact on me, and it has given me some personal stories to take with me in my work as a global advocate," said the Danish Crown Princess.
The focus on family planning, access to information, services and contraceptives was a central theme of the visit, which also clarified the challenges contributing to the low contraceptive prevalence rate and the paramount importance of family planning in reducing maternal mortality ratio and morbidities as obstetric fistula.
The visit to Mozambique was The Crown Princess´ first encounter with the work of UNFPA in a national context since she took upon the role as UNFPA Patron in May 2010.
• Helene Christensen, UNFPA Mozambique