New York, 23 April 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks at Dinner Hosted by H.R.H. Princess Astrid of Belgium in Conjunction with World Malaria Day [as prepared for delivery]Your Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium,
And all the distinguished guests who join us tonight – too many to mention by name but all wonderful supporters,
Earlier this evening, I had the honour of presenting Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid with an award for her bold leadership in our efforts to realize a world free of malaria.
I mentioned that just this month, Princess Astrid went to Asia for the cause. Let me share a few more details of her time in Indonesia. It will give you a snapshot of her strong character.
In Jakarta, she convinced the Indonesian Foreign Minister and the Secretary-General of ASEAN to push malaria to the top of the regional agenda.
Then she headed out to the field.
At a small village in Sumatra called Kalinda, she stopped at a midwife community health outpost.
Princess Astrid observed while patients were tested and families collected bed nets. Then she dived in and got more involved. She helped to administer the tests. She put solutions on the slides. And she observed the results through a microscope.
Then she went to the home of one mother and her newborn.
Princess Astrid helped to cover the child with a treated bed net.
She and the mother had a conversation that was interpreted from French to English to Indonesian and back again.
Nothing was lost in translation because they communicated heart to heart. In that moment, Princess Astrid was speaking as a fellow mother who understood the concerns and hopes that every woman feels for her child.
She met with other patients on her trip. One was a man with cerebral malaria. He was expected to recover – but in that moment he was suffering.
She spoke to him privately so he would feel more comfortable. He was greatly encouraged by her warm consideration.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Princess Astrid will do whatever it takes to save lives. She even helped to release fish that eat larvae into a lagoon. This is messy work. But she was ready and willing.
Whether she is meeting with a president or a patient, she always asks the right questions. She wants to know what they have been through in the fight against malaria, and how to help them get further along the road to stopping the disease.
I spoke to several people who have travelled with her. They are amazed by her spirit.
I share their admiration.
Let us all be inspired by her example in the fight against malaria.
And let us crown our success with a malaria-free world.
Statements on 23 April 2012
- New York, 23 April 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks at World Malaria Day NETworking Reception
- New York, 23 April 2012 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan
- New York, 23 April 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks to High Level Delegation of Mayors and Regional Authorities [as prepared for delivery]
- New York, 23 April 2012 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Commission on Population and Development