26 September 2012
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14536
WOM/1925

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at ‘Every Woman Every Child’ Event, Urges Political Leaders


to Ensure Birth Date No Longer Most Dangerous Day for Mothers, Newborns


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the “Every Woman Every Child” special event in New York on 25 September:


Welcome.  Thank you all for coming to this special event at this inspiring museum.


Thank you to the partners who helped organize this event, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the United Nations Foundation and the MDG Health Alliance.


I would like to commend you, Mr. Ray Chambers, for your tireless work over the past year as a Millennium Development Goals advocate working to advance Every Woman Every Child.


We are here this evening because women and children are suffering from poverty, discrimination and threats to their health.  But, we are also here because women and children have enormous potential to drive economic growth, hold families together and help future generations.  This is why we launched Every Woman Every Child two years ago.  And it has become a shining example of partnership in action.


The results are impressive.  Two hundred and sixty partners have come together and have made ambitious commitments.  Billions of dollars in new funding for women’s and children’s health have been mobilized and $10 billion have already been delivered.  But Every Woman Every Child is about more than numbers of commitments and contributions.  It is about the level of determination we need to succeed.


Over the past two years, we received more money for health — but we also got more health for the money.  Momentum is building.  New partners are joining.  Our movement is growing.  We are here to celebrate, but tonight is also about taking a hard look at how we can truly reach every woman and every child, everywhere.


To do this, I believe we need to reframe our collective vision and see health in terms of its value as the best investment we can make.  We know that investing in health is investing in a better future.  But, when we look at the statistics still showing millions of preventable deaths, we know that health is undervalued in the world today.  I want us to increase and optimize investments in the health of the world’s women and children.  This demands accountability on all sides.  We have to watch how we spend our precious resources and how well we deliver results to the people we serve.


When we view health as a critical investment, we realize that we need to improve data so we can make informed decisions.  If we take the human right to health seriously, we have to ensure that all people get basic services.


Most people in our world could never afford health care if they have to pay for it all up front.  If we ensure universal health coverage, we can stop many more preventable deaths.  We can prevent illness and malnutrition.  We can ensure that girls and women of all ages can choose if and when to have a baby.  And that will protect people from falling deeper into poverty.


Above all, if we value health as a top priority, we must confront global health challenges with commitment and solidarity at all levels of work, but especially at the highest levels of decision-making.  Political leaders can and should ensure that a birth date is no longer the most dangerous day for mothers and newborns.


We see examples of leadership around the world.  Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper of Canada and President [Jakaya] Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania led our Accountability Commission.  President [Goodluck] Jonathan of Nigeria and Prime Minister [Jens] Stoltenberg of Norway are steering our Life-saving Commodities Commission.


We must rapidly translate their recommendations into results for the millions of mothers who go through labour without skilled attendants, the millions of children who have been orphaned by AIDS, and the hundreds of millions of people living in poverty.  We are racing to reach the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline.  And we are working to keep health at the top of our agenda beyond 2015.


Today’s event is about celebrating the progress we have achieved in women’s and children’s health while renewing our commitment to accelerate towards this fast-approaching deadline.  By working together, we can reduce unnecessary child deaths by two thirds, cut maternal mortality by three quarters, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and help stamp out poverty.


Because of the people in this room — because of you — I believe the future of women’s and children’s health — the future of all global health — has never looked brighter.  With all of you and partners around the world, we can succeed.


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For information media • not an official record