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Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen Speaks at Launch of Danish Maternal Health Campaign

Last week, Women Deliver’s CEO Katja Iversen was a featured speaker, along with Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and the Minister of Trade and Development, Mogens Jensen, at the launch of the Maternity Foundation’s “Save a Life on Mother’s Day” annual campaign. The event took place in Copenhagen and also included remarks from MSD Country Director, Anita Bruhin; Director of the Maternity Foundation, Anna Frellsen; and actress Ellen Hillingsø.

The campaign is being launched as part of the Maternity Foundation’s work to address the staggering number of women that continue to die in pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. Since 2007, the Maternity Foundation has marked Mother’s Day by spreading awareness about maternal mortality in developing countries. This year, Danish artist Anika Lori created special Mother’s Day cards to share information about maternal mortality and spur advocacy efforts.  All revenue from the cards will go to maternal health programs.

“We have only a year left to reach the goal of reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters before 2015,” said Frellsen. “We stand together now to ensure that it does not cost life to give life.”

Denmark has been at the forefront of global efforts to improve reproductive and maternal health, particularly in the developing world. HRH Crown Princess Mary was a plenary speaker at Women Deliver’s third global conference in 2013, where she spoke about the importance of prioritizing girls’ and women’s maternal and reproductive health within the post-2015 development framework.

Speakers at the campaign launch noted the need to work now to ensure that girls and women are placed at the center of the new development framework. Katja Iversen spoke on behalf of Women Deliver, and highlighted proven solutions to save the lives of girls and women, such as making sure women and young people who want modern contraceptives, information, and services have them; increasing access to safe abortions; and ensuring the availability of trained health care providers and emergency obstetric services.

“Investing in [reproductive and maternal health] in the countries where the women live and die will save women's and children's lives and strengthen health systems,” Iversen said. “But let me underscore that this is not only a women’s issue, it’s not only a health issue— it is a development issue and an important economic issue. When we invest in girls and women, everybody wins.”

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