New York

24 September 2019

Deputy Secretary–General remarks at Every Woman Every Child High-Level Event and Reception: Delivering together for the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents to advance Universal Health Coverage [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia,
Ladies and Gentleman,
Dear friends,
I am delighted to be with you today at Every Woman Every Child’s annual reception.
Over the past thirty years, we have made historic progress in improving the health and wellbeing of women and children. Maternal mortality has decreased by 44 per cent, and child mortality has declined by more than half.
However, wide disparities remain.
Tragically, we know the current state of play.
Ninety-nine per cent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
Children in sub-Saharan Africa are 15 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in high-income countries.
And the leading cause of death for 15 to 19-year-olds is complications from pregnancy and childbirth, with the vast majority of these deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
These numbers underscore the imperative of achieving the health targets of the 2030 Agenda if we are to keep our promise to leave no one behind.
At the heart of the response is Universal Health Coverage, , the umbrella that guides our work at the UN. Yesterday’s first-ever High-level Meeting on UHC drove this point home.
Realizing the transformative aim of UHC will require access to Primary Health Care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, based on the principles of equity, access and quality. A basic package of primary care services alone could prevent more than 3 million deaths among women and children every year.
Indeed, primary health care is the foundation of universal health coverage. This was reaffirmed in the Astana Declaration last October, in pursuit of Health for All.
However, its success depends on political commitment and adequate financing.
This will require accelerated action by countries, supported by a wide array of organizations, and leveraged by the SDG 3 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All and by Every Woman Every Child.
EWEC is a mature model of a partnership for development and a prime example of innovation at work.  It brings together the H6, the Global Financing Facility, the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health in a constructive response to support country priorities and deliver tangible results.
Since the launch of the updated EWEC Global Strategy in 2015, EWEC Partners have mobilized more than 314 commitments from stakeholders, worth more than $40 billion. But we still have a way to go to deliver health for all.
Sustainable development cannot become a reality without the economic, social and environmental contribution of women and adolescent girls. Now is the time for targeted investments that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
As we enter a decade of action for the delivery of the SDGs, let us seize the historic opportunity of this week and build on the momentum of the five high-level meetings to firmly integrate women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.
A sustainable future is possible but will only be realized when we improve the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents. I count on you to join EWEC on this journey.
Thank you.