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Statement by Ambassador Liu Jieyi at the Briefing on "Every Woman, Every Child"

2014-09-12 12:55

Distinguished Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Robert Orr,

Distinguished Permanent Representative of Kenya, Ambassador MachariaKamau,

Distinguished Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, Ambassador Mark Grant,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the "Every Woman, Every Child" briefing jointly sponsored by the office of the Secretary General and permanent missions of China, Kenya and the United Kingdom. I wish to thank the executive office of the UN Secretary General for its preparations for this briefing.

Women and children's health represents a prerequisite and foundation for mankind's sustainable development, and constitutes one of the integrated indicators used to measure a country's level of economic and social development. The objectives of "reducing child mortality" and "improving maternal health" are accorded high importance in the MDGs. In September, 2010, the then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, together with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, attended the ceremony for the launching of "Every Woman, Every Child" initiative. Over the past four years, this initiative has helped countries, developing countries in particular, to improve the quality of newborn babies and the health of the population as a whole by promoting international cooperation, raising funds for project implementation and publishing research reports, thus greatly contributing to the enhancement of women and children's health and well-being throughout the world. China highly appreciates the work done.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China has the largest population of women and children in the world numbering 880 million. The Chinese government always pays great attention to women and children's health, making it a priority in the development of our health care. The Chinese government has made it its goal to protect the right to health of women and children and improve their health. By focusing its efforts on implementing the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care and the Outline for the Development of the Chinese Women and the Chinese Children, my government has gradually improved the quality of health service for women and children, worked hard to solve salient problems in this field, and achieved positive results in the following three key areas related to women and children's health:

First, we have reached ahead of schedule the MDG target of reducinginfant and under-five mortality. Currently, China's maternal mortality rate has come down to 2.32 per 10,000, a 56.2% reduction compared to 2000; and our infant and under-five mortality rates have been reduced to 9.5 per 1,000 and 12 per 1,000 respectively, which represent respective reductions of 70.5% and 69.8% than 2000.

Second, we have made great headways in solving major problems affecting women and children's health. Thanks to years of hard work, effective prevention and treatment have been achieved for common and frequently-occurring diseases of women and children. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV has been reduced from 34.8% to 6.3%, and indicators such as the rate of medium and severe maternal anemia, the rate of low birth weight and the rate of child malnutrition are all showing steady improvement.

Third, the tendency of rising rate of deformity at birth is being effectively arrested. Before 2011, the rate of deformity at birth of perinatal infants had long been on the rise. China's health departments actively implemented three levels of preventive measures against deformity at birth, which are targeted on the three stages of pre-conception, pregnancy and right after birth. A series of major public health projects have been implemented. As a result, the rate of deformity at birth for perinatal infants has shown a downward trend since 2012, which demonstrates the preliminary effect of our integrated approach to prevention and treatment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chinese government has for many years explored and experimented with ways to improve women and children's health. We have accumulated some valuable experience, which I would like to share with you:

First, our leadership pays great attention to this issue and has designed at the highest level an overarching strategy. Leaders of successive administrations all attach great importance to women and children's health. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, on many occasions, gave important instructions regarding work related to women and children's health. The State has promulgated the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care and formulated a number of Outlines on the Development of the Chinese Women and Children, thus providing powerful legal guarantees for women and children's health. Moreover, this issue has been incorporated in the overall national development plan as a priority area in health-related development.

Second, we have set down an overall policy on women and children's health suitable to our national conditions. After years of experiment and practice, the Chinese health departments have established an overall policy on women and children's health with health care as the core and guarantee of reproductive health as the goal; it combines health care with clinical treatment, orients towards grass-root level and specific groups, and prioritizes prevention. This policy stipulates explicitly that women and children's health belongs to the realm of public health, and that while focusing on health care, clinical technical service is indispensable, thus ensuring an organic combination of prevention and treatment.

Third, we have taken an integrated and coordinated approach and provide targeted guidance fordifferent categories of problems. As a developing country, China suffers from lack of adequate resources for women and children's health and uneven development between urban and rural areas and among different regions. Therefore, we decided to take an integrated and coordinated approach. We categorize existing problems and provide guidance accordingly. In this way, we are able to take targeted measures to address major problems affecting women and children's health in different regions. We have made mid-western region and rural areas ourpriorities, and increased resource input and policy support with a view to gradually narrowing the gap in women and children's health between urban and rural areas and among different regions of our country.

Fourth, we have adopted a strategy of departmental cooperation and social participation with the government at the lead. In implementing the provisions on women and children's health in our overall health plan, the government takes the leading role with departments in areas of health and women's work cooperatingclosely. The role of civil society organizations is also highly valued. Thus, all parties have formed synergy to createan enabling environment in which the whole society cares about and supports the development of women and children's health.

Fifth, we have maintained the mutually complementary roles of traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine is of particularly importance to women and children's health. In disease prevention, nursing, diagnosis and treatment, traditional Chinese medicine is characterized by few side effects and low risks, thusin terms of safety of treatment and medication, it suits the needs of expectant and new mothers as well as infants and small children. In particular, the diagnostic method of traditional Chinese medicine is conducive to doctor-patient communication and exchange, thus providing targeted maternal health care and care for infants and small children.

In November last year, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th CPCCentral Committee decided to improve the service system for "left behind" children and women in the countryside, and initiated the policy that if either parent is an only child, then they are eligible to have two children of their own. This has posed new demands for the scale and quality of China's women and children's health service. The Chinese government is adjusting and increasing service resources to speed up the implementation of institutional developmentprojects in the area of women and children's health with a view to building a sound, speedy and efficient referral and group consultation network in order to effectively guarantee maternal and infant safety. Governments at all levels are prompted to pay more attention to women and children's health and further increase investment in this area.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Guaranteeing women and children's health is not only an import element of the "Chinese Dream" of our people, but also a common aspiration of the whole international community. In recent years, China, while focusing on improving its own women and children's health, has taken an active part in the South-South cooperation in this area and provided the best of its ability health assistance to other developing countries.

From 2000 to 2014, the Chinese government has provided to the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin Americamaterial assistance in small amounts in the area of women and children's health that value in total 14 million RMB. Since 1963, China has been dispatching medical teamsto Africa. The accumulatedperson-time has now reached 18,900. The Chinese medical workers have conducted in Africa 250 million diagnoses and treatments for patients, including many women and children. Fifty Chinese medical workers laid down their precious lives on the African continent that they loved.

At the Ministerial Forum onChina-Africa Health Development held in August last year, the Chinese government once again committed to dispatching 500 experts on women and children's health to help African countries lower maternal and infant mortality. The Chinese government will support the "pairing-up" of 10 Chinese hospitals with African hospitals to help them build capacity in the prevention and control of AIDS, malaria and other major diseases, encourage Chinese pharmaceutical industry to step up pragmatic cooperation with African enterprises to promote the production and technological transfer of medication and vaccine for preventing and treating major communicable diseases such as AIDS and malaria, so as to enhance the capacity for self-development of African countries and bring benefit to the African people. All the above initiatives will greatly help African countries to improve women and children's health.

China attaches importance to the initiative of "Every Woman, Every Child" and actively supports the work of the relevant team of the executive office of Secretary General. At present, China is discussing with the Secretariat of this initiative ways to further strengthen cooperation, including triangular cooperation with African countries in the area of women and children's health. We will encourage the active participation of Chinese enterprises and civil society organizations in relevant projects.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2015 is both the deadline for the realization of MDGs, including the targets in the area of women and children's health, and a crucial year in the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. The international community should join hands to further strengthen cooperation, and make effective efforts to promote the health and well-being of women and children throughout the world and achieve sustainable development. In this connection, China wishes to make the following proposals:

First, peace and development are the prerequisite and foundation for the realization of women and children's health. Only when regional tensions are eased, threat of war eliminated and national stability maintained, can states concentrate their energy on women and children's health. Countries should strive to further their economic and social development so as to lay a foundation for the fundamental improvement of women and children's health. The international community should continue its work of implementing the MDGs, support the inclusion of women and children's health in the post-2015 development agenda and ensure an effective linking of the post-2015 development agenda with the MDGs.

Secondly, governments concerned should play the leading role and assistance should be based on real needs. Countries differ in stage of development as well as culture and tradition; they also vary in their priorities in the area of women and children's health. In providing assistance, the international community should take care to let the governments concerned take the leading role and the assistance should be need-oriented with no political conditions attached.

Thirdly, a global partnership with the participation of all parties should be constructed. Such a partnership should have as its main pillar North-South cooperation supplemented by South-South cooperation. Developed countries should effectively honor their commitments by providing more financial and technical assistance. Developing countries should strengthen capacity building in the area of women and children's health and increase government's input in the undertaking. The international community should make use of the important platform offered by the initiative of "Every Woman, Every Child" to build a global partnership which includes national governments, international organizations, enterprises, charities, medical service and academic research institutes.

Women and children's health is an important symbol of social civilization and progress. China is ready to continue to work together with Secretary General and other member states to further contribute to the development of women and children's health throughout the world.

Thank you.

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