By Sadiya Hamza
UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on Thursday in New York, called for continued efforts by UN member states to improve maternal health.
Ban made the call at a high-level luncheon for his ”Every Woman Every Child Every Initiative.’’
He said “we all believe in a world where every woman, child and young person can thrive.
“We have a unified vision to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths.
“We have a passion to improve the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents within a generation.’’
The UN boss called for a unified vision to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths.
“The Every Woman Every Child initiative has helped us o build this momentum, creating a global community, working under one umbrella.
“Maternal and child death rates have fallen in everyone of the Global Strategy’s 49 target countries since 2010.
“This progress is fragile and our work under the health MDGs remains unfinished.
“I want to see continued accelerated action to sustain these gains.’’
Ban said some 800 women still die each day from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Adolescent girls, he said, were more vulnerable to HIV infection, sexual violence and harmful practices.
He also said that women and children were up to 14 times more likely to die in a disaster, noting that “this is why we are updating the Global Strategy and Every Woman Every Child in September in support of Sustainable Development Goals.
“We must end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents; we must realise their full potential to thrive and exercise their rights.
“To accomplish these aims, we must work effectively across sectors and through partnerships.’’
The updated Global Strategy, he said, would place new attention on adolescents’ needs, inequalities, and how to respond more effectively in humanitarian crises and fragile settings.
Ban said it would aim to build the resilience of health systems, improve the quality of health services and equity in their coverage.
He added that it would examine how to work more effectively with key health-enhancing sectors, such as education, nutrition, sustainable energy, water and sanitation.
The UN chief said that by investing in the potential of women, children and adolescents today, and over the next 15 years, states could save a generation within a generation and benefit generations to come.
“But the opportunity and responsibility to act belongs to our generation now.
“Continued strong political commitment, leadership and action will be critical to our success, especially in supporting the smooth transition from the MDGs to the universal sustainable development goals agenda.
“That is why I plan to establish a high-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child and the updated Global Strategy,’’ he said.
The Advisory Group, he said, would help to provide the highest political leadership on the transition and inspire ambitious action that translates into steady progress on the ground.
“Today, I would like to call on all of you, new and existing Every Woman Every Child partners, to help mobilise innovative new commitments around the updated Global Strategy,” he stressed. (NAN)
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