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Girls & Women

Every woman, every child deserves a full and healthy life, this is how that will become a reality

How can the world ensure that every woman has a safe and wanted pregnancy, and that every child’s health needs are met? How can the world provide every girl with the resources she needs to realize her full potential? These are questions that have haunted many policy makers and global citizens. But there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

In the past 15 years alone, maternal mortality has reduced by 47% and child mortality has declined by 49%. And this year, with the launch of the Global Goals, global citizens have a historic opportunity to lend their voice to ensure that no child, mother or young person is left behind.

During the same week as the Global Citizen Festival, the United Nations Secretary-General will launch a new plan called theGlobal Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health” in support of the Every Woman Every Child movement to make sure that...

1. Every pregnancy is healthy and wanted

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Girls and women, as well as their partners, need access to comprehensive sexuality education to ensure they are well-informed and can decide when they want to have children.

At the moment that’s not the case in many countries. Too many nations limit education and access to contraceptive services and information. Across the world, 225 million women who want to delay or stop having children have an unmet need for family planning.

Lack of access to contraception and family planning tools also leads 3 million young women across the world to seek unsafe abortions each year. These abortions are incredibly dangerous and often result in girls and women dying as a result of unsafe procedures.

2. Every birth is safe

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Too many pregnant women don’t have access to proper medical care and are forced to give birth at home. By giving birth without skilled midwives or doctors, they are unable to handle unexpected complications during pregnancy. Every year, 289,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth.

3. Children survive beyond their 5th birthday

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Currently, 6.3 million children under age 5 die each year. Most of these deaths are entirely preventable, and are a result of ill-health, malnutrition or lack of access to health care. This makes children prone to easily fall sick with pneumonia, diarrhoea or measles.

4. All children, women and young people are empowered to thrive

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60% of maternal deaths, 53% of child deaths and 45% of newborn deaths occur in fragile states and humanitarian settings. Women, children and adolescents who live in poor or marginalized communities are more likely to have difficulty accessing health care and leading healthy, prosperous lives.

Now, you might be asking yourself -- how is this extremely ambitious plan going to be achieved?

Earlier this week, at the Financing for Development Conference in Ethiopia, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of a new international fund called the Global Financing Facility.

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"Our vision is clear: to end all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths within a generation and ensure that women, children and adolescents thrive” - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

This fund will help move the global community from the billions to the trillions of dollars needed to secure universal access to quality health services for all women and children, no matter where they live. Already, the United States, Norway, Canada and Japan have pledged landmark, million-dollar commitments. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also announced a commitments of $75 million USD over the next 5 years.  

NOW is the time to help set the foundations for healthier and more prosperous lives for generations to come. Everyone has a role to play.