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Maternal health in the spotlight during UN chief’s four-nation trip

18 May 2011 – Maternal health will be the focus over the next week when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon begins a four-nation trip that will take the United Nations chief to Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France, his spokesperson said today. The trips to Nigeria and Ethiopia are part of the “Every Woman, Every Child” global health effort, which Mr. Ban launched in September last year during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit at UN Headquarters in New York. In Nigeria, which has one of the highest maternal mortality burdens in sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Ban is scheduled to visit a hospital and a health-care centre where major improvements are being made. He ...

UN chief urges governments to pursue family-friendly policies

New York, United Nations, 15 May 2011 – Governments should adopt policies to ensure that all types of families, particularly the most vulnerable, have access to the necessary services so they can provide a better future for their children, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.In a message marking the International Day of Families, observed every year on 15 May, Mr. Ban said too many families endure “chronic, punishing hardship” or neglect that can leave them with life-long scars and an inability to escape poverty.“Social exclusion is often at the root of the problem,” he said. “Discrimination and unequal access to social services deprive families of the opportunity to plan a ...

UN report outlines benefits of empowering women and youth in poor countries

New York, May 10 2011. Women and youth have the capacity to spur economic growth and reduce poverty in the world’s least development country if given access to education, employment and health, including family planning services, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says in a report unveiled today.Girls are often overlooked when investments in social services, including education and health, are made, according to the report, entitled Population Dynamics and Poverty in the LDCs: Challenges and Opportunities for Development and Poverty Reduction, made public at the ongoing Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul, Turkey.“Empowering women and girls starts...

Growing numbers of unnaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Belgium

STEENOKKERZEEL, Belgium, May 2 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency and the Belgian government are increasingly alarmed at the rising number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the Western European country and at how young many of them are. Preliminary government statistics indicate that the number of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in each of the first three months of this year are much higher than for the corresponding period in 2010. In January this year, 138 children sought asylum against 59 in January 2010; the figure for February was 149 against 56 while in March a total of 196 applied for asylum against 47 a year earlier. At least one in five were girls. ''Not...

On day for midwives, UN hails ‘unsung heroes’ of maternal and newborn health

New York, 5 May 2011 – United Nations officials today hailed the significant impact of midwives on the health of women and newborns, and called for greater investment to ensure their life-saving services are available to all who need them around the world. “Midwives deliver – and not only babies,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). “They save lives and promote good health in societies as a whole. They are an essential workforce in an effective health-care system.” In a statement to mark the International Day of the Midwife, Dr. Osotimehin noted that more than one in three women in developing countries give birth alone, a...

Education investment jump in Sub-Saharan Africa pays dividends with more children in school than ever says UNESCO report

Sub-Saharan Africa, 1 May 2011 -  Sub-Saharan African countries increased their real expenditure on education by more than 6% each year over the past decade, according to a new report published by UNESCO. Yet despite these investments, many countries in the region are still a long way from providing every child with a good quality primary education. The report entitled, Financing Education in sub-Saharan Africa – Meeting the Challenges of Expansion, Equity and Quality, presents comprehensive and timely data on the financing of education in 45 African countries. Published by UNESCO’s Montreal-based Institute for Statistics (UIS), it also includes historical data to track financing t...
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