Johannesburg – I am pleased to send greetings to representatives of 50 countries and other participants attending this valuable GlobalNewborn Health Conference.
Your meeting falls at an opportune time, near the 1,000-day mark in our 15-year campaign to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
I welcome your focus on newborns. Their health is critical to realizing the goals of the Every Woman Every Child effort that I launched in 2010.
That movement has demonstrated the value of partnerships involving the United Nations, governments, civil society and the private sector. Every Woman Every Child is helping to ensure that life-saving services and products reach women, children and newborns.
I am heartened that you will launch the Global Newborn Action Plan, building upon two initiatives that work to advance the goals of Every Woman Every Child: the “Born Too Soon” effort on preterm birth and the initiative, “A Promise Renewed” for child survival.
I will continue to encourage all members of the Every Woman Every Child community to fully support the Global NewbornAction Plan as we strive to implement the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Advancing progress in these areas is critical to reducing unnecessary deaths and achieving the MDGs.
The United Nations family – especially the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund – will fully support this effort in the critical period ahead.
The Global Newborn Health Conference can add to the growing global momentum as the effort to reach the MDGs enters its final stretch.
I count on you to build on this progress by taking bold and determined action now to save millions of lives in the future.
[delivered by Dr. Agostinho Zacarias, Resident Coordinator in South Africa]