Annual UN population prize awarded to Italian priest, US non-governmental group

Two women in Mauritania who had operations for obstetric fistula. Photo: IRIN/Manon Riviere

21 March 2014 – An Italian Catholic priest, who is also a medical doctor, and a non-profit organization in the United States specializing in maternal health are this year’s winners of a United Nations award that recognizes outstanding achievement in the fields of population and health.

Father Aldo Marchesini and the Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics were chosen for the 2014 United Nations Population Award by a committee administered by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Father Marchesini has worked on population issues for more than four decades, according to a news release issued by UNFPA. For many years, he was the only doctor to treat obstetric fistula in Mozambique, where he was also kidnapped and imprisoned several times during the country’s civil war.

The Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics was founded in 1973 to prevent maternal deaths. It has provided assistance to some 160 countries and has trained more than half a million health professionals in family planning and reproductive health.

The organization focuses on various programme areas, including maternal, newborn and child health; family planning and reproductive health; HIV prevention, care and treatment; cervical cancer prevention and treatment; urban health; and contraceptive innovations.

The Award, set up by the General Assembly in 1981, will be presented to this year’s winners on 12 June at the UN.


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