Private sector engagement crucial for improving women’s and children’s health

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Positive role of public-private partnerships helping to save 16 million lives through Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health

EWEC logoNew York, 20 September 2011 - Public-private initiatives such as the GAVI Matching Fund for Immunisation have been praised at a key progress checking high level meeting hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

During a meeting to review the first year of the Every Woman Every Child campaign, the Secretary General announced progress in the effort to save women's and children's lives, and highlighted new and game-changing commitments made during the past year.

"Every Woman Every Child has shown what can be achieved through close co-operation between the UN, governments, and the private sector," said Ki-Moon, adding, "these are smart decisions - visionary leaders recognise the value of investing in the health of women and children."

Every Woman Every Child has shown what can be achieved through close co-operation between the UN, governments, and the private sector.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The meeting included Heads of State, CEOs of the private sector and NGOs, and other UN and government officials, focusing on advancements made through the campaign in tackling women's and children's health.

GAVI's impact

At a reception for Every Woman Every Child, Andrew Mitchell, UK Secretary of State for International Development, cited GAVI as a "brilliant organisation" through its efforts to expand access to immunisation to 250 million children, and Princess Cristina spoke of "La Caixa's" long-term commitment to supporting vaccination through GAVI.

Secretary of State Mitchell, Princess Cristina and GAVI CEO Seth Berkley all spoke about the GAVI Matching Fund, pursuant to which the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match corporate contributions to GAVI.

As a guest speaker, Seth Berkley emphasised the value and impact of vaccines, in particular with the rollout of vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease in developing countries.

Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health

Every Woman Every Child is a global effort spearheaded by the UN Secretary-General that puts into action the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, a roadmap on how to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children.

Key outcomes of Every Woman Every Child will include preventing the deaths of more than 15 million children under five, including more than 3 million newborns, preventing 33 million unwanted pregnancies, and about 570,000 women from dying from complications relating from pregnancy and childbirth. A further 88 million children would be protected from stunting, and 120 million children protected from pneumonia.

He also cited one of GAVI's primary objectives to ensure a sufficient supply of affordable HPV vaccines to girls in the world's poorest countries in the coming years, addressing the devastating impact of cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in low-income countries. The disease kills 275,000 women each year, and nearly 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries.

Partnership

More than 100 new partners, including governments, civil society and multilateral organisations, have joined Every Woman Every Child, bringing the total to more than 200 since the effort was launched.

Private sector partners include Merck, which will launch a ten-year effort to prevent, treat, and diagnose the top three causes of death in pregnant women; Sesame Workshop, which will produce multimedia early child initiatives aimed at promoting general health, HIV/AIDS education and early prevention of malaria; and Safaricom, which will focus on creating a Kenya-based mobile health partnership in collaboration with World Vision.

Progress report

Coinciding with the meeting, a one-year progress update, "Saving the Lives of 16 Million", shows that in the first year of the effort, commitments have been implemented and enhanced, new partners have come on board, funding has been increased, policies improved and services strengthened on the ground.

More on this topic

1.5 million

In 2012, approximately 6.6 million children died before the age of five. WHO estimates that 1.5 million of these deaths are due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

WHO

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