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An Unprecedented Global Effort to Save Lives

Every Woman Every Child: The UN's Important Role in Improving Women's and Children's Health

January 12, 2012
This month's call was held on Thursday, January 12, 2012 and featured Anita Sharma, Director of Millennium Development Goals Initiatives at the United Nations Foundation. On the call, Anita discussed the Every Woman Every Child initiative, which was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2010 to help save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. After discussing the program in detail, Anita took questions from UNA members for roughly a half-hour.

 

Listen to the Call Below

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Read the full transcript of the call.

The call began by focusing on the problem facing Every Woman Every Child (EWEC). Anita highlighted some of the dire health realities facing women and children in the developing world including: pneumonia, diarrhea, pre-term birth complications, birth asphyxia; and malnutrition. Anita stressed that EWEC is hoping to become a movement, global in nature, involving governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). She also stressed the importance of individuals letting their elected officials know how important it is for the U.S. to support the UN, so important initiatives such as EWEC can continue to function at a high level.

Given EWEC's unique position in the context of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, Anita delved into why these two MDGs seem to be falling behind in terms of success rate. She mentioned that it is partly because of societal norms where women are valued less than men in many of the countries facing maternal health challenges, partly because of lack of access to medical facilities, and partly because of the intertwined nature of the MDGs themselves (i.e. without access to clean water diarrhea can set in, which is one of the largest killers of children under five).

Other subjects covered included the role of good governance and the role of NGOs in women's and children's health, as well as the importance of family planning.

The question and answer session discussed the subjects of fundraising in the age of austerity, transparency in the distribution of funds, paying volunteers on the ground, the importance of midwives, the importance of advocacy, and accomplishments since EWEC launched in 2010. Major accomplishments of EWEC include: receiving about 200 commitments from 200 different partners; financing of roughly $50 billion; the graduation of Bangladesh's first class of midwives specifically geared toward EWEC achievements; and reductions in two of the main killers of children, diarrhea and pneumonia.

Click here to access the full transcript of the call. More information on Every Woman Every Child can be found at www.everywomaneverychild.org.

Labels: Advocacy

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