Melinda Gates urged global leaders to make women’s and children’s health a top priority, and announced that the Gates Foundation will invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to support maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition programs in developing countries.
“The world must come together to save women’s and children’s lives,” said Gates. “In poor countries, pregnancy and childbirth often end in tragedy. Our goal must be to build a world where every birth brings joy and hope for the future.”
Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discussed her vision for maternal and child health in a speech at the Women Deliver 2010 conference, an international meeting of policymakers, health experts, and advocates.
Gates said it is critical to challenge the notion that large numbers of maternal and child deaths are inevitable, or even acceptable, in poor countries.
“Every year, millions of newborns die within a matter of days or weeks, and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth,” said Gates. “The death toll is so huge, and has persisted for so long, it’s easy to think we’re powerless to do much about it. The truth is, we can prevent most of these deaths ? and at a stunningly low cost ? if we take action now.”
Gates highlighted the importance of designing integrated health programs for women and children that address multiple needs ? such as family planning, prenatal care, safe childbirth, and nutrition.
“The Gates Foundation is joining many others in the global health community in working toward a more integrated approach to women’s and children’s health,” said Gates. “Women and children have a continuum of needs, and we must design health programs accordingly.”
Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA