Maternal health in the spotlight during UN chief’s four-nation trip

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

18 May 2011 – Maternal health will be the focus over the next week when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon begins a four-nation trip that will take the United Nations chief to Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France, his spokesperson said today.

The trips to Nigeria and Ethiopia are part of the “Every Woman, Every Child” global health effort, which Mr. Ban launched in September last year during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit at UN Headquarters in New York.

In Nigeria, which has one of the highest maternal mortality burdens in sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Ban is scheduled to visit a hospital and a health-care centre where major improvements are being made. He will also meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and other top Government officials.

In Ethiopia, the Secretary-General will visit a rural health programme which trains young women to serve their communities’ health needs, and which is considered a model for the continent. The Secretary-General will also hold discussions with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, and other leaders attending the India-Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa.

Mr. Ban will then travel to the Group of 8 (G8) Summit in Deauville, France, where he will continue to advocate for sustained attention to women’s and children’s health as a cornerstone of the global development agenda.

But the Secretary-General’s first stop, will be Côte d’Ivoire, where he will on Saturday attend the inauguration of President-elect Alassane Ouattara in the capital, Yamoussoukro, before going to Abidjan to meet UN peacekeepers and other staff serving with the UN mission (UNOCI). He will also visit a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Meanwhile, the Security Council is undertaking its own mission to Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya to address peace and security issues facing the region.

The mission will depart New York tomorrow, first stopping in Addis Ababa, where members of the Council will discuss a range of issues with officials of the African Union. They will also meet Mr. Zenawi.

The mission will then travel to Sudan before proceeding to Nairobi, Kenya, where they will deal with issues relating to Somalia. They will also meet Kenyan Government officials before returning to New York on 26 May.


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