Press Release WHA/6
12 May 1998
HILLARY CLINTON AWARDEDMrs Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States of America, was today awarded the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize for her work with women, children and their families. The prize is given annually during the World Health Assembly and carries an award of US$40 000, which at Mrs Clinton's request is being donated to a World Health Organization (WHO) project in the Kigoma Region of Tanzania entitled "Community Involvement in Reducing Death in Childbirth".
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
HEALTH FOUNDATION PRIZE
Mrs Clinton was cited for her "impressive record of distinguished contributions and achievements in the field of health and social welfare" and "her pioneering work on behalf of women, children and their families".
Mrs Clinton was first a staff attorney for, then Chairperson of the Board of Directors, of the Children's Defense Fund, where she has been "at the forefront of numerous major initiatives to improve the lives of children and their families. As a lawyer, she worked hard towards expanding access of the poor to legal assistance."
As First Lady of the State of Arkansas, Mrs Clinton led the State in addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy, to the extent that the infant mortality rate in Arkansas, from being one of the highest in the United States, became one of the lowest. As Chair of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in the United States, she promoted access to health care as a basic right for all.
In accepting the prize, Mrs Clinton highlighted the links between both poverty and education and improved health for women and their children. "For the children being born today, let us declare for all to hear: their basic health should no longer depend on where they live or how much money their parents have. Some of what we have to do is attack the inequalities that deprive children in one area from enjoying the health care that is available to their neighbours. We know child malnutrition varies greatly from continent to continent. The number of physicians varies greatly depending on the wealth of the country."
"Some of what we need to do is provide better information and education to people so they can make better health decisions for themselves and their children," Mrs Clinton also said. "And in rich countries, there are pockets of despair. To improve health for all, we must make progress in the fight against poverty. To fight poverty, we must ensure health care for all. That is part of the unfinished business of this century."
Mrs Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, Yale University, in 1973. She was admitted to the Arkansas Bar that same year, and to the United States Supreme Court in 1975. She is an Honorary Doctor of Law of several American universities, Honorary Doctor of Public Service, and has been the recipient of several distinguished awards.
Other prizes awarded today during the 51st World Health Assembly were the Sasakawa Health Prize and WHO "Health for All" (HFA) Gold Medals. Recipients of the Sasakawa Prize were Ms Roselyn Mokgantsho Mazibuko of South Africa, Dr AAQ Al Ghassani of Oman, and the Gondar College of Medical Sciences of Ethiopia. Ms Mazibuko and Dr Al Ghassani received an award of US$30 000 each, while the Gondar College of Medical Sciences received US$40 000.
Ms Mazibuko's achievements, according to the citation, "are intimately linked with the development of the Hlatlolanang Health and Nutrition Centre in a remote area of the Northern Province of South Africa. The underlying principle of her work has been the promotion of people's self-reliance when addressing problems related to poverty".
Dr Al Ghassani was singled out because he "has been able to exert a marked influence on his country's strategies in the areas of maternal and child health and nutrition, health education and immunization, and provision of health care for the entire population".
The Gondar College of Medical Sciences was cited for establishing training for the key professions working in primary health care centres (health officers, public health nurses and sanitarians). It also set up a surveillance system covering health and demographic characteristics in the North Gondar zone, generating data useful for the design of cost-effective programmes targeted at common health problems.There were seven recipients of WHO's "Health for All" Gold Medals, awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to the attainment of health for all. The President of Côte d'Ivoire, Henri Konan Bedie, the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tolifau Eti Alesana, and the Vice-President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss, received their medals after taking part in a WHA roundtable discussion on the morning of 14 May on "health for all in the 21st century" (see Press Release WHA/5). As part of the awards ceremony in the afternoon of 14 May, the Nippon Foundation, Mrs Hillary Clinton and the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation also received HFA Gold Medals.
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