UNFPA: welcomes new UNICEF report
15 JANUARY 2009 | NEW YORK NY — Every minute somewhere in the world a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth, and the women in the world’s least developed countries are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in developed countries.
These facts are highlighted in UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report on maternal and newborn health, launched today in Johannesburg.
“UNFPA welcomes the new UNICEF report, and calls for more action to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. We look forward to continued cooperation with UNICEF and other partners to improve maternal and newborn health," says UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, and adds: “No woman should die giving life”.
Childbirth remains the most serious health risk for women in developing countries. However, it is well known that most maternal deaths could be prevented through universal access to reproductive health. Health systems need to be strengthened to provide family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency obstetric care. This would not only save lives, but also improve world productivity.
"Every year, the world loses $15 billion in productivity because women die in childbirth. It would cost only $6 billion, or less than a day-and-a-half of military spending, to provide the health services needed to save women's lives” says Ms. Obaid, emphasizing that the world will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals unless more is invested in the health and rights of women.
“The Millennium Development Goals were designed to put our world on a more secure and sustainable path,” says Ms. Obaid, “and it is hard to envision a safe future without safe motherhood".
Last year, WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank developed a plan and jointly pledged to intensify support to the countries where most mothers die, so they can improve maternal health and newborn health. UNFPA has also established a Maternal Health Thematic Fund that will raise funds to reduce maternal deaths in 60 countries.
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