Investing in Our Common Future: Healthy Women, Healthy Children
23 SEPTEMBER 2009 | NEW YORK
Quotes + Commitments
From the UN High-level Event on maternal, newborn & child health, 23 Sept 2009
United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown accompanied by wife, Mrs Sarah Brown(patron of WRA and leader of the Maternal Mortality Campaign) announced a contribution of GBP 250 million for the strengthening of health systems through the expansion of IFFIm. "We must fill the financing gap," said Mr Brown. The Prime Minister gave strong support the announcement of the removal of user fees by several African countries: "During the 1980s, bad development advice led countries to charge fees for health services that became a death sentence. Today is the time to pledge to end this shame. The Consensus on MNCH, endorsed by the G8, is the first global plan for free health services. Today, I want to call on every country in the developed world to support developing countries in this effort."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "No person of conscience should stand by as such needless deaths continue.It is said that a society can be judged by how it treats women and children. Just as no woman should die needlessly in childbirth, no person of conscience should stand by as such senseless deaths continue. Each of us can make a difference. Together, we can improve the health and well-being of women and children. When they thrive, so will our world.”
World Health Organization Director General, Dr Margaret Chan presented the ‘Consensus for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health’ : "We always talk, but don't always walk -- we need to concretize our commitments. $5.3 billion is a wonderful commitment."
Ann Starrs, co-chair of PMNCH and president of Family Care International : “Women and children in poor countries get sick, are injured, and die every minute of every day, from causes that are routinely prevented or treated in the developed world. We know how to end this slow-motion catastrophe, and the Consensus is our roadmap for making it happen. It also represents the world’s solemn promise to its poorest and most vulnerable people. Now it is up to all of us make sure that our leaders keep their promises.“
Flavia Bustreo, Director of PMNCH emphasized the importance of taking urgent action to invest in women’s and children’s health, saying, “A child dies every three seconds, and a woman dies every minute from complications of pregnancy or childbirth — and it is in our power to prevent almost all of these deaths. The recommendations announced today by the Taskforce go some way to mobilising new finances, but the Consensus — which calls for $30 billion of additional funding over the next six years — makes it clear that much more is needed. Governments in both developed and developing countries must fulfil all of their prior funding commitments, and must generate new funding to make up the difference. The lives of millions of women and children depend on it, and the Partnership is committed to holding leaders accountable.”
President Michelle Bachelet (Chile) President Bachelet urged greater social solidarity in approach to 4 & 5, greater support for universal coverage of health care and urged developed countries meet their 0.7% commitment for ODA, particularly in this time of financial crisis with its negative impact on women and children. "It's not always a matter of money, but of political will and priority," concluded President Bachelet.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Norway) noted that it had increased ODA in 2009 with the aim of exceeding 1% of Gross National Income. “Worldwide a child dies every three seconds; a mother dies in pregnancy or childbirth every minute. These lives may be saved if mothers are able to give birth in clinics. That is why Norway in 2008 granted NOK 3.1 billion to establish good health care for newborn children and mothers in developing countries. This includes health sector support targeted for women and particular deceases”, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at the UN meeting. Stoltenberg thanked Gordon and Sarah Brown for their leadership on MDG 4 and 5 and noted that more money, awareness and political will are critical to the achievement of the MDGs.
President Ernest Bai Koroma (Sierra Leone) pledged to increase health spending to meet the Abuja target of 15% and to abolish user fees immediately with the help of donors.
President John Atta Mills (Ghana) pledged that, from 2012, health insurance would be free for pregnant women, children under 18 and the elderly, with participants paying a single lifetime contribution instead of annual payments.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia) announced the "permanent suspension of user fees, subject to ongoing partner support".
Minister Stephen Smith (Australia- Foreign Affairs) pledged Aus$250m over 20 years to the expanded IFFIm for health system strengthening.
Minister Bernard Kouchner (France – Foreign Affairs) and Philippe Douste-Blazy (UN Special Adviser On Innovative Financing For Development) introduced the solidarity tax initiative with a promotional film about the "Massive Good" initiative -- a private-public venture that would invite users of online travel services to click a button to donate each time they booked travel.
Jean-Claude Baumgartner, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, led a round of applause for private sector contributors involved in this venture. "This is a perfect example of how the world can come together for a good cause"