Norway unveils campaign to achieve UN goal on child mortality, maternal health

26 September 2007 –

Norway will spend $1 billion over the next decade to help in the fight in the developing world against infant mortality and deaths in childbirth, one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted at a United Nations summit in 2000, its Prime Minister announced today.

Jens Stoltenberg told the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly in New York that the world is struggling to meet the MDGs by their target date of 2015, and particularly the Goal concerning child mortality and maternal health.

“Simple, affordable measures can save millions” of children’s and mothers’ lives, the Prime Minister said. Every year, 500,000 women die because of childbirth and 2 million babies lose their lives before the sun sets on their first day.

“The four million newborn who die in their first month may survive if they are breastfed [and] have access to antibiotics and health workers.”

The Norwegian plan, launched with other governments, agencies and civil society, is aimed at boosting both the organization of the fight and the amount of funding available, and not just for vaccinations.

“Health personnel should treat more patients and file fewer reports. And we must change the financing so that treating patients becomes a source of income rather than a cost for the health systems.”

Mr. Stoltenberg said an advocacy campaign for women and children was being launched and would be overseen by a Network of Global Leaders chosen to help ensure “that our message will reach every corner of the world.”

He stressed that although the Global Alliance for Vaccines has saved more than 2 million lives since its inception in 2000, it was important to move beyond that to other forms of treatment.

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