Focus On Maternal Health in New York

Ambassador Morten Wetland, Christy Turlington Burns and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: John Erik Pryd

07/07/2010 // At a packed July 6th event at New York’s Museum of Modern Art hosted by United Nations Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, The Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Morten Wetland and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, Christy Turlington Burns added her voice to the growing momentum in the fight to save the lives of millions of women and children every year.

In her gripping directorial debut, No Woman, No Cry, Christy Turlington Burns shared the powerful stories of at-risk pregnant women from four parts of the world: a remote Maasai tribe in Tanzania, a slum in Bangladesh, a post-abortion care ward in Guatemala, and a prenatal clinic in the United States.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a global effort to focus worldwide attention on improving the health of women and children, together with leaders from the private sector, government, philanthropy and non-governmental and international organizations. “No woman should die bringing life into the world and no child should die when we know how to save them,” states the UN Secretary-General.

“2010 must be the turning point for women and children’s health,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his opening remarks at the film screening, which brought together ambassadors and leaders from the private sector, civil society and the United Nations.

“Like many women, I was excited to become a mother and enjoyed being pregnant. But just after delivering my first child, I suffered a serious complication.” said Christy Turlington Burns.  “While I had a birth team that worked quickly to manage the situation, I was shocked to learn that hundreds of thousands of women die each year during childbirth—and that 90 per cent of these deaths are preventable.” I hope that by bringing people together, we can help create a mainstream maternal health movement that ensures the lives and well-being of mothers worldwide, for generations to come.”

Christy Turlington Burns, now a Columbia University School of Public Health student, has taken her passion for social justice and her artistic talents to a new place, hoping to educate the public and raise awareness about the challenges facing women and girls worldwide.

The film screening was followed by a panel discussion with leading policy makers from the UN, the Norwegian government and Johnson & Johnson. “By coming together, we can improve the situation for mothers worldwide,” said Dr. Tore Godal, Special Advisor to the Norwegian Prime Minister. “To succeed, we need every voice and we need every opportunity to come together and improve the lives of women and children.”

Norway has made a long standing commitment to improving the global health situation, and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has made a decision to contribute in a special way to achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by 2015. Read more about Norway’s policies and on how Norway and the United Nations are addressing the issue within the UN context.

Source: Norway Mission to the UN

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