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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks at press conference to unveil results of innovative maternal health programme in Tanzania

New York, 2 October 2012

This has been a busy week at the United Nations. We have made progress on many issues – including the health of the world’s women and children.

I am honoured to welcome His Excellency President [Jakaya M.] Kikwete of Tanzania, the honourable New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Dr. Helen Agerup, head of the H&B Agerup Foundation.

Sitting together with the Mayor, I would like to make, on the record, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the citizens [of New York] for their strong support during the General Assembly – such a great support and help of the New York citizens and Mayor - and patience during the time of many leaders’ visit. And I would like to thank you very much, Mr. Mayor, for your support. And I am also honoured to have President Kikwete together with us.

All these three leaders are leading advocates of women’s and children’s health.

President Kikwete was one of the first world leaders to back the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.  He is also one of its main drivers.  I am very grateful to him for his leadership as the co-chair of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, which developed new models to ensure that partners in the Every Woman Every Child movement are accountable for the resources and results that they have committed. 

Mayor Bloomberg is well-known for his commitment to improving the health of New Yorkers. He is also working for the health of women in Tanzania through Bloomberg Philanthropies, which funds efforts to help pregnant women and their babies in rural and isolated areas.

Dr. Agerup is leading the H&B Agerup Foundation to invest in health of women and children over the next few years.

I am proud to see these leaders here together at the UN today, advancing concrete partnerships on the ground.

Tanzania has almost cut in half its maternal mortality rate. The partnership between these three leaders alone has helped cut maternal deaths by roughly one third in two years in the Kigoma, Morogoro and Pwani regions of Tanzania. To sustain and build upon these results, we need partnerships. We need mayors and presidents, grassroots activists and health care workers.

My former Deputy-Secretary-General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, a wise woman from Tanzania, used to say that “no matter where women and children are or how poor they may be, they should enjoy the best possible health.”

Tanzania is an example of how, by investing in the health of women and children, we can achieve great results for us all.

I thank your leadership, Mr. President, and Mayor and Dr. Agerup, for your strong support.

I thank you very much for your attention.