From left, Unicef Executive Director Tony Lake, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nigeria's Minister of State for Health Muhammad Ali Pate and UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin. 
Photo: Norway Mission/Sigrun Agøy Engum.From left, Unicef Executive Director Tony Lake, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nigeria's Minister of State for Health Muhammad Ali Pate and UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin. Photo: Norway Mission/Sigrun Agøy Engum

Millions need access to life-saving commodities

5/23/2012 // Affordable, life-saving medicines and health supplies with the potential to save millions of lives are not reaching the children and women who most need them.To help change this, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children met in New York on May 22. The meeting was chaired by Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The twenty Commissioners discussed recommendations to help increase access, reduce costs, and ensure the quality  of 13 commodities that can prevent women from dying during pregnancy or delivery and help infants live through their first days and weeks.

«The day of birth is the most dangerous day in the life of a woman and her child. The fact that women do not get the care they need during childbirth is the most brutal expression of discrimination against women,» said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

  • Read the Prime Minister's opening remarks here.

UN Secretary-General echoed the Prime Minister's sentiment when he addressed the Commission.

“Every two minutes, a woman dies at what should have been a joyful moment [childbirth]. And millions of women are unable to choose if, when and how many children they would like to have because they lack access to modern contraception – this tells me we are still not doing enough,” said Mr. Ban.

“As your work clearly shows, we do not need to wait for scientific breakthroughs,” said Mr. Ban. “We already have commodities, knowledge, interventions and policies that can prevent needless deaths."

The Commission will deliver recommendations and an action plan to the UN General Assembly in September 2012.

The Commission was initiated by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and is co-chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway. UNICEF’s Executive Director Tony Lake and UNFPA’s Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin serve as vice-chairs.

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