Press Release

Male Involvement in Maternal Health Critical to Saving Women's Lives, Say UN Leaders

10 July 2007
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York — Men should more vigorously participate as partners in maternal health in order to significantly reduce the number of women who die each day in childbirth, said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

“Experience shows that male involvement can make a substantial difference when it comes to preserving the health and lives of women and children,” said Ms. Obaid in her message for World Population Day, 11 July. The theme of this year’s World Population Day is Men as Partners in Maternal Health.

Men, she said, make most of the decisions within the family and in government where they preside over policy and programmes that directly affect women and girls

“Today, too many women die from easily preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Every minute, another woman loses her life,” said Ms. Obaid. “Let us go forward with the message: No woman should die giving life. Let us do all we can to promote the right of every woman to enjoy a life of health, dignity and equal opportunity.”

In a separate message, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “as partners for maternal health, men can save lives.” The support of an informed husband, said Mr. Ban, “improves pregnancy and childbirth outcomes and can mean the difference between life and death in cases of complications, when women need immediate medical care. And supportive fathers can play an important role in the love, care and nurturance of their children.”

“On this World Population Day,” Mr. Ban continued, “let us all encourage men to become partners and agents for change, supporting human rights and safe motherhood in every way possible, thus contributing to creating a world of greater health and opportunity for all.”

World Population Day was instituted in 1989 as an outgrowth of the Day of Five Billion, marked on 11 July 1987. It seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development. The Day is marked around the world with rallies, exhibitions and public awareness campaigns highlighting its theme.

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Contact Information:

In New York: Omar Gharzeddine, +1 212 297 5028, gharzeddine@unfpa.org;

In Geneva: Leyla Alyanak, +41 22 917 8563, alyanak@unfpa.org;

or visit www.unfpa.org.

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