U.N. Calls For Advancement On Goal To Save Women And Children; Poorest Countries, Drug Company Contribute To Fight

Speaking at a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while lauding the progress made under the Every Woman Every Child initiative since its launch one year ago, noted that millions of women and children “are still dying needless deaths and called for advancing the goal of saving 16 million lives by 2015,” the U.N. News Centre reports. A one-year progress update launched at the meeting, Saving the Lives of 16 Million, “shows that in the first year of the effort, commitments have been implemented and enhanced, new partners have come on board, funding has been increased, policies improved and services strengthened on the ground,” according to the news service (9/20).

According to a spending report released at the meeting, “Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal and some of the world’s other poorest countries delivered not only money but new services in the year since U.N. member states pledged more than $40 billion to save the lives of mothers and children,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (9/20). In related news, “Merck & Co. Inc. said Tuesday it will spend a half-billion dollars over the next decade to reduce deaths from pregnancy and childbirth,” the Associated Press/Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports (9/20). According to a Merck press release, the “Merck for Mothers” initiative will focus on “making proven solutions more widely available, developing new game-changing technologies and improving public awareness, policy efforts and private sector engagement for maternal mortality” (9/20).

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