Liya Kebede

WHO goodwill ambassador for maternal, newborn and child health

How healthy is your world?

"WHO has worked hard to highlight the health of mothers and children this year, with both the World health report and World Health Day dedicated to these issues. However, much more needs to be done to help women and children — especially in developing countries. Today, 1449 women will die while trying to give birth to their baby, and so will 29 000 children under five years of age. 11 000 of those children are not yet a month old. These numbers are shocking. Giving women and children the health care they need is an absolute imperative. They are, after all, the foundation upon which communities survive and thrive.

I was honoured this year to be appointed WHO's goodwill ambassador for mothers and children and look forward working with WHO in 2006 to continue raising awareness of these issues — and to help to give a voice to the millions of mothers and children who desperately need our support."

Liya was appointed WHO goodwill ambassador in March 2005.