Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, has made calls to global governments for initiating efforts to improve women’s health or risk missing an UN-set deadline for reducing the number of maternal deaths.
Ban, speaking at Women Deliver, the largest international women’s health conference in a decade, said health issues pertaining to women and children have been the slowest of the UN Millennium Development Goals to make progress.
“Women are dying because their lives are not important enough to policymakers around the world,” said Guttmacher Institute president and CEO Sharon Camp.
She noted that while less than 12 billion dollars were spent last year to promote maternal health — a sum she said should be at least doubled — “Wall Street bosses paid themselves twice that in bonuses last year.”
At the conference, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged 1.5 billion dollars in support of family planning and programs that support nutrition and fight the deaths of newborns and of women in childbirth.
The philanthropic group hoped to set an example for world governments to follow.
“It’s not that the world doesn’t know how to save the 350,000 mothers and three million newborns who die every year,” Melinda Gates said as she announced the grant.
“It’s that we haven’t tried hard enough.”
An initial grant of 94 million dollars has already been made for projects in India, and 60 million dollars have gone to Ethiopia, with the rest due to be disbursed over the next five years.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a contribution of 1.5 billion dollars in support of family planning and other programs supporting nutrition and reducing the number of deaths of newborns and of women in childbirth.
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