Princess Haya, the wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, made her comments at a United Nations-convened meeting on Wednesday, national news agency WAM reported.
Princess Haya said: “The hard truth is that in this region, around 39,000 women die as a result of pregnancy-related complications and around 923,000 children under five die of avoidable causes every year.
“Our development as a region, as individual nations and communities, is dependent on our ability to nurture our children, to give them the best we have to offer, and to ensure they have equal access to education, to health, and to ensure they grow into healthy mothers and fathers, and ultimately, healthy citizens.”
At the meeting, delwgates agreed to urgently accelerate progress on improving maternal and child health by the end of 2015.
Delegates also committed to increasing funding levels in order to meet Millennium Development Goals four and five on reducing maternal and child mortality.
The delegates’ commitments are laid out in the ‘Dubai Declaration’, ‘Saving lives, Rising to the Challenge’, which details seven key concrete actions to be taken by all countries in the region to enable more women and children to access the health services they need.
As well as Princess Haya, a UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority, the meeting was also attended by Abdul Rahman Mohamed Al Oweis, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Acting Minister of Health, and Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority.
“WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA will work together across the region to support countries in taking these commitments forward,” said Dr Ala Alwan, Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, on behalf of the three agencies co-organizing the meeting.
“This is the start of something new and important. As the declaration emphasizes, we are determined to do our utmost to ensure that every woman has the best opportunity for a safe delivery, so that every child has the best possible start in life.”
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