NEW YORK – Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway launched the first year Progress Report on the Global Campaign for Health at a press conference at the United Nation Headquarters in New York. The Report acknowledges achievements in AIDS treatment and the reduction of deaths due to malaria and measles. But, the Report also urges the international community to take action to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal and child deaths by 2015. According to the report, an extra $2.4 billion in 2009 rising to $7 billion in 2015 will be needed to save 3 million mothers and 7 million newborns. This money will support stronger health systems, and the additional costs needed to ensure 400 million additional births take place in a high-quality clinics. If delivered it will represent a 70% reduction in the death rate for mothers and babies and would ensure the achievement of both MDG4 and 5 for the majority of the poorest countries.
Responding to this need, Heads of Government and Health Agencies committed to mobilise international support for stronger health systems, including the training and recruitment of over 1 million health workers. They also launched a Taskforce for Innovative International Finance for Health Systems to find new ways to fund their programme plans.
"We set a goal of reducing maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015. While we see progress towards most other Millennium Goals, in this area we hardly see any change at all," said Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway in a speech at the UN. "We know what to do: Delivering in safety is the single most important factor in saving the lives of mothers and newborns. More women must deliver in clinics. But poor women need financial support for travel and care."
Specific pledges to save mothers and children included an announcement by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown of nearly $1 billion over the next 3 years to support national health plans in 8 countries. Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, committed to base teams of new, expert staff in Africa over the coming months to strengthen health systems for better maternal, newborn, and child health.
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