22 May 2011

Remarks at Maitama Hospital, Abidjan

Ban Ki-moon

How una dey? [“How are you?”]

Thank you for your warm welcome.

I am honoured to be here at Maitama Hospital.

You are saving young mothers and their babies – and helping them look forward to a healthy future.

You are keeping others from getting sick – or helping them to get better when they are ill.

This has been a top priority for me since I became Secretary-General.

Healthy women – healthy mothers – healthy children – means healthy societies.

Health systems that work for women and children are health systems that work for all.

Unfortunately, around the world, health systems are not working for women and children.

One thousand women die every day from complications from pregnancy and childbirth – the kinds of complications can and should be dealt with in a hospital like this one.

Twenty-two thousand children under five die every day too.

This is truly unacceptable.

Especially because most of these deaths can be easily prevented.

That is why we created the Global Strategy on Women's and Children's Health – and why all Governments have endorsed it.

This is why I launched the Every Woman Every Child initiative to support it.

We are bringing together partners to work for the common good.

Businesses and civil society organizations – philanthropic organizations and international bodies like the United Nations –and, of course, Governments.

I commend the commitment the Government of Nigeria has made to invest more in development and, specifically, in women's and children's health.

You are integrating services for maternal, newborn and child health, with programmes on HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and nutrition.

You are strengthening Health Management Information Systems, and increasing the number of service providers, including community health workers and midwives.

These efforts are bearing fruit.

Let us build on them to build health and wealth throughout Nigeria, for all Nigerians.

You can count on the support of the United Nations.

I look forward to my tour of the hospital, and my stay in Abuja.

Thank you.