Prevention and Protection Save Lives: Speech at IPI
In Nicaragua four years ago I met a remarkable young woman. I remember it so vividly. She was 18 years old and had a two year old daughter. She was sitting in a chair in a dark room, so, so shy. The pregnancy had been result of sexual abuse. She was HIV positive. Her daughter was fortunately negative.
Health for all is a shared responsibility. It means providing equitable access to essential health care services. To achieve health for all, we must ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are at the core of all efforts made to this end.
The Secretary-General’s launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the global effort Every Women, Every Child last year provides a strong platform for all partners in making progress together towards 2015.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took an important and brave step when he lifted women’s and children’s health to the highest political level.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are crucial to the achievement of the MDGs in general, and the health MDGs in particular. We need to treat MDG 3, 4, 5 and 6 as a synergistic package of action, so that we will be able to make a difference to the lives of women and girls, and to change the development trajectory of countries. Achieving the MDGs is furthermore a youth issue.
In many of the countries with high HIV occurrence, more than half of the population is under 25 years of age. In the 15 countries most affected by AIDS, HIV prevalence among young people has dropped by more than 25%. Young people are now the actors, mobilising for prevention, taking ownership of the AIDS response and shaping the attitudes of future leaders. UNAIDS is pioneering a movement to foster a new generation of leaders for the AIDS response at the global and country level. We have to make sure that the next wave of leadership is equipped, engaged and sufficiently supported to maintain and develop the response.
Putting the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health into action is key to reaching the MDGs on health. As we get closer to 2015 it becomes ever more urgent to move ahead on scaling up our efforts.
This seminar is one of several steps in mobilising support for the realisation of the Global Strategy and the achievement of the MDGs.
Furthermore - it is a step in the right direction to provide women all over the world with tools to protect themselves, and to gain control over their own lives.
Coming back to my starting point: It's our common responsibility to make sure that what happened to the young mother I met in Nicaragua will not happen to her little, beautiful daughter.