Shanghai, China

22 May 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at opening of Shanghai Municipal Centre for Women's and Children's Health [as prepared for delivery]

I am honoured to be here at the opening of this impressive new health facility for women and children.

We know that healthy women and children are the foundation on which communities, nations and the world thrives.

Through my travels across Asia and Africa, I have visited and opened many health facilities, from modern facilities, such as this one, to health clinics, hospitals and humble community health posts.

All of the various health facilities around the world at different levels, and more importantly, the health care workers who work in them, are fundamental to building strong health systems, and essential to getting vital, life-saving services to those most in need.

Access to facilities like the Shanghai Maternal and Child Health Centre in China now mean that women and children can receive integrated health services.  Whether they need preventive care or a cure, their needs are met.

This centre not only provides essential services, but also   has a strong public health function, providing vital training, surveillance, monitoring of service delivery and operational research.

We should do the utmost that we can to ensure that women and children all across China have access to such impressive services and facilities like the Shanghai Municipal Centre.

This focus on the integration and continuum of care from family planning, through pregnancy to birth is a key pillar of Every Woman Every Child, a global initiative I launched in 2010. 
In particular, the time of birth remains one of the most risky periods of survival for both mother and baby.

We must make a global push to eliminate the estimated 5.5. Million “invisible” new-born and stillbirth deaths that occur every year

That is why, under the Every Woman Every Child umbrella, the Every Newborn Action Plan is being developed to facilitate action to end these mostly preventable deaths.

China can play a vital role on this front, both in terms of lessons learned and by providing new ways to accelerate progress.

China has already been able to meet the fourth Millennium Development Goal on reducing child mortality ahead of time.

It is also on track to meet MDG 5 on improving maternal health and universal access to reproductive health.

This represents millions of lives saved in just two decades.

By giving women and children access to top quality services, we will provide solid foundations for vibrant societies and a life of dignity for all.