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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

UNFPA Statement on the Occasion of World Population Day 2007

United Nations Population Fund
Because Everyone Counts

World Population Day is a time to focus on commitment and action to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. The theme of this year’s World Population Day is Men as Partners in Maternal Health.

Today too many women die needlessly from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Every minute, another woman loses her life. Every minute, the loss of a mother shatters a family and threatens the well-being of surviving children. And for every woman who dies, 20 or more women experience serious complications such as obstetric fistula.

World leaders have committed themselves to improving maternal health and advancing gender equality. And men can make a tremendous contribution by using their power for positive change. Men have power in wide-ranging situations from personal and family decisions to policy and programme decisions taken at all levels of Government.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, supports safe motherhood initiatives around the world. We work with governments and other partners to ensure that every woman has access to three reproductive health services that save women’s lives. These are voluntary family planning, skilled attendance at birth, and emergency obstetric care if complications arise during delivery.In countries where these services are widely available, more mothers and babies are surviving.

Experience shows that men’s involvement and participation can make all the difference. By discouraging early marriage, promoting girls’ education, fostering equitable relationships, and supporting women’s reproductive health and rights, progress is made.

Today, on World Population Day, it is time for all men—as fathers, brothers, husbands, community and religious leaders, and government officials—to become partners in maternal health. Together we can make this the last day that 1,440 women died during pregnancy and childbirth. Let us go forward with the message: No woman should die giving life. And let us do all we can to promote the right of every woman to enjoy a life of health, dignity and equal opportunity.

* * *
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid,
Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Population Day / 11 July 2007