World maternal mortality rate is an outrage, says Ban Ki-moon

May 19th, 2009 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown Geneva, May 19 (DPA) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday slammed the world’s progress on lowering the maternal mortality rate, calling it an “outrage”.
Speaking at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Ban said half a million women still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth.

“Maternal health is the mother of all health challenges,” he told the health ministers and other high-level officials at the meeting.

According to the UN, governments, particularly in the developing world, are lagging far behind on women’s health. Ban said it was the slowest moving of all the Millennium Development Goals.

Ban also warned against cutting health budgets owing to the economic crisis, saying it would reverse progress made on health goals.

Sarah Brown, wife of British Premier Gordon Brown, was also set to address the delegates on women’s health and safe motherhood.

The World Health Assembly is the annual high-level meeting of the 193-member World Health Organisation. It is meeting in Geneva for the 62nd annual meeting.

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