Deliver Now for Women + Children: Historic Global Drive to Improve Maternal Health and Reduce Child Deaths is Launched in New York City; Unveiling of Country Specific Programs in India, Tanzania to Follow



    NEW YORK, September 26 /CNW/ - In an historic effort to eliminate
maternal and child deaths and improve the health of women and children around
the world, a global coalition of governments and organizations has come
together to launch a major drive called Deliver Now for Women + Children.

    Every year over 10 million mothers and children die from mostly
preventable causes. Every minute of every day, a woman dies needlessly during
pregnancy or childbirth. Every three seconds a child under five dies. Four
million newborns die in their first four weeks of life, 3 million of those in
the first week. And with 42 percent of pregnant women around the world
experiencing a complication, up to 15 percent of which are life-threatening,
the issue of protecting the lives of women and children during pregnancy,
childbirth and beyond is one of the most critical facing the world today.

    "Today is a day of hope for women and children. The cause of women's and
children's health has remained in the shadows for too long and been neglected
on the policy agenda. It is at last getting the political and public respect
it has always deserved," said Dr. Francisco Songane, Director of The
Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the driving force behind the
development of Deliver Now. "We are hopeful that this initiative will result
in large-scale action to ensure health services are available for all with
prompt access and without discrimination."

    Deliver Now will be launched September 26 amidst rallies in Manhattan and
the Bronx and awareness-raising events across the city to build popular
support for the drive throughout the week. The launch will also coincide with
the convening of a panel at the United Nations, "Saving 77 Million Lives",
featuring women UN leaders and global health activists discussing the critical
issues facing women and children around the world.

    The launch will be followed by other global events, such as the
high-profile conference Women Deliver in London October 18-20
(www.womendeliver.org), and the roll out of intensive local programs in
individual countries, beginning in 2008 in India and Tanzania. In these
countries, Deliver Now will bring together local government agencies, civil
society, media and other national and international members of the initiative
to allocate resources and more effectively bring basic health services to
women and children. The results of these programs will be closely monitored to
ensure success and accountability.

    Deliver Now is coordinated by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn &
Child Health and is being launched in support of a new global push to achieve
the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to health. It is part of
the Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals, which will be
unveiled September 26 by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway at the
Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. The Global Campaign is supported
by several governments including the UK, Norway, Canada, France and Germany,
as well as a number of prominent global health and advocacy organizations. The
launch of Deliver Now follows the recent launch of the International Health
Partnership in London by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other world
leaders. Deliver Now is specifically dedicated to advancing MDGs 4 and 5,
which call for the reduction of child deaths by two-thirds and annual
reduction of maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015.

    Deliver Now's first country-specific programs will include:

    --  Advocacy for Maternal and Child Health in India - Currently, 20
percent of the world's births are in India but 25 percent of the world's child
deaths and 20 percent of the world's maternal deaths occur there as well.
Deliver Now will work with local organizations to implement a program to build
political will to ensure delivery of services and raise awareness in the
Indian states of Orissa and Rajasthan.

    --  Advocacy for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Tanzania -
Tanzania currently faces a critical shortage of qualified health workers to
assist during childbirth, with 54 percent of women receiving no skilled
attendance. As a result, a woman dies of pregnancy-related complications every
hour of every day. Deliver Now will work to deliver services and raise
awareness in the Tanzanian districts of Geita, Monduli, Sumbawanga, Morogoro,
and Babati.

    To find out more about Deliver Now for Women + Children, visit
www.delivernow.org.




For further information:

For further information: Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Public Relations Josh
Epstein/Colleen Roche, 212-575-4545 jepstein@lakpr.com/croche@lakpr.com

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DELIVER NOW

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