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Gates Pledges Money To Help World’s Women And Children

June 8, 2010

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged 1.5 billion dollars Monday to support aid in developing countries for family planning, maternal and child health care, and nutrition programs.

At the Women Deliver conference in Washington DC, Melinda Gates announced that the new pledge will “complement our spending in other areas that affect women’s and children’s health such as developing and delivering children’s vaccines and preventing pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and HIV/AIDS.”

The grants will be paid out over the next five years, she said.

Mrs. Gates also pledged to personally speak with world leaders in both rich and poor countries and urge them to make women and children’s issues top priorities on their policymaking plans.

The three day conference on women’s health opened Monday with a keynote speech by UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, who asked that world governments work with the United Nations to improve healthcare for women and children by the target date of 2015, as set by the UN.

“We must fight for women’s health with all our resources, all the time. When we work together, we succeed,” Ki-Moon said. He also unveiled a plan that would unite the UN and world governments in an effort to “deliver for mothers and children.”

In a pre-recorded speech delivered to the auditorium at the Washington Convention Center, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US has pledged 63 billion dollars to help countries to strengthen their health systems. She said the biggest focus will be “on the health of women, newborns and children.”

3,500 people from 140 countries were in attendance at the Woman Deliver conference, which included former presidents from Chile (Michele Bachelet) and Ireland (Mary Robinson), and also actress Ashley Judd.

The attendees at the conference will ask governments and private donors to pledge at least 12 billion dollars for maternal, reproductive and newborn health worldwide.

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