Mr Stoltenberg gives his special adviser on international health, Tore Godal, much of the honour for the inclusion of their names on the list.
“Dr Godal’s efforts to improve the health of the poor are inestimable. After Fridtjof Nansen, he is probably the Norwegian whose work has saved the most lives,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Dr Godal led research into tropical research in the World Health Organization for many years, contributing to an important reduction in malaria in African countries. He also played a key role in the establishment of GAVI – the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, in close cooperation with the Norwegian authorities and Bill and Melinda Gates.
“GAVI has provided vaccinations for millions of children, and has saved more than five million lives,” Mr Stoltenberg commented.
Today, Dr Godal heads a working group on innovation in health services for women and children at the invitation of the UN Secretary-General. The working group is examining how mobile technology can strengthen health services for the world’s poorest women and children.
“Dr Godal has a unique network of heads of state, health ministers and other decision makers all over the world, which he makes regular use of to improve health services for the poor,” Mr Stoltenberg continued.
Norway - a driving force
At the turn of the millennium, the UN member states set themselves eight goals to be achieved by 2015 in the global fight against poverty. The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) form the basis of Norway’s efforts to reduce poverty. Norway has been a driving force in efforts related to the MDGs since 2000, and has taken on special responsibility for MDGs 4 and 5 – on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
Tore Godal commented: “Norway has made an impact through its engagement at the highest level. With the launch of the Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals in 2007, the Prime Minister, together with national and international leaders has called for intensified efforts to improve maternal and child health. Enhanced political engagement, more money for health, and better use of the funds available for health services for poor women and children are issues that are now at the top of the international agenda.”
At the UN summit on the MDGs in September 2010, the UN Secretary-General gathered heads of state and government from all over the world to mobilise a common effort to reduce maternal and child mortality in poor countries. The Secretary-General launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and USD 40 billion was raised to implement its measures.
Mr Stoltenberg pointed out: “A woman dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth every minute. What we, in our part of the world, see as a magical, wonderful day – the day we welcome a new life into the world – is the most dangerous day in the lives of many women in other parts of the world. Women are dying for reasons that could easily be prevented and because women’s health in far too many countries is not considered important. This is unfair and unacceptable. While this is clearly a health issue, it is also a question of equality, dignity and human rights. Norway will therefore play an important role in the follow up of the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy."
Women Deliver works to generate political and financial support for efforts to achieve MDG 5.
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