UN launches global strategy to save over 16 million women and children

13:44, September 23, 2010      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 20, 2010. The UN MDG summit opened on Monday. (Xinhua File Photo)

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday launched a massive drive to save the lives of over 16 million women and children, with more than 40 billion dollars already committed to scale up health services worldwide.

"The 21st century must be and will be different for every woman and every child," said Ban, who launched the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health at the UN Headquarters on the margins of a high-level summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs, a series of globally agreed social and economic targets with a 2015 deadline, include a number of health objectives, such as Goal 4 on reducing the mortality rate for children under the age of five by two thirds and Goal 5 on slashing maternal mortality rates by three quarters, both from their 1990 figures.

Wednesday's launch, which included the private sector, foundations, international organizations, civil society and research groups, represents a major step toward filling the gap between the investment needed and what is currently provided for women's and children's health -- with over 40 billion in resources committed over the next five years.

"We know what works to save women's and children's lives, and we know that women and children are critical to all of the MDGs," the secretary-general said. "Today we are witnessing the kind of leadership we have long needed."

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