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Ban Ki-moon addresses Women Deliver Conference

June 14, 2010

By Jeanne Betsock Stillman

The UN has developed a program intended to support, reinforce and accelerate the Millennium Development Goals, under the title  “Investing in our Common Future: Joint Action Plan to Accelerate Progress on Women’s and Children’s Health .   Many UN Member States are already involved, as are the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the philanthropic community, NGOs and others.  The program will focus on MDG #1 (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger), MDG #3 (Promote gender equality and empower women; MDG #4 (Reduce child mortality); MDG #5 (Improve maternal health); MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases); and MDG #7 (Ensure environmental sustainability).

UN Secretary-Genera Ban Ki-Moon, addressing the Women Deliver Conference on June 7, 2010, in Washington, DC, described the purpose and mechanisms of the Joint Action Plan and called on every part of the world’s health infrastructure to work together, towards this goal. He told us at the UNA-USA Annual Meeting that governments include the US, the UK, Canada and world leaders from the World Bank, civil society, the private sector and others, were involved.

At the Women Deliver Conference Melinda Gates announced a big first step toward the needed funding:  $1.5 billion investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for 2010 through 2014 to support innovative projects addressing family planning; health care for pregnant women, newborns, and children; and nutrition.

The Joint Action Plan includes both funding and programmatic resources and changes.  The aim is to provide “more health for the money.”  Expected outcomes are:

By 2015, this improved coverage would include:

— Vaccinations for an additional 150 million children in GAVI-eligible countries.

–164 million more children treated for pneumonia and a further 150 million children treated for diarrhea.

— 150 million more couples using modern methods of family planning.

— Hundreds of millions of women and newborns receiving high-quality care before, during and after birth.

–The training of an additional 2.5 million health-care professionals and 1 million community health workers.

–Millions of women and children receiving interventions to prevent or treat deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

— Millions of women and children receiving interventions, such as supplements, to reduce chronic malnutrition in young children.

As an international public health professional with a career in maternal and child health, family planning and HIV/AIDS (my first  job in Africa was to organize training for rural midwives) , I am particularly happy about this initiative.   The UN Foundation is a strong supporter and organized several events at the Women Deliver Conference.

As the UN MDGs are featured at the High Level Summit opening of the General Assembly, and are also the theme for UNA-USA for UN Day this year, we can all expect to find ways to become involved, through the UNA Southern NYS Division and through the Chapters we serve.

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