Monday, March 16, 2015

Every Woman, Every Child

On March 10, 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in the CSW side event entitled “Every Woman, Every Child” in order to launch a Progress Report on his Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.

Vera Brezhneva, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, joined the Secretary General at this high level meeting to discuss progress that has been made in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV. Ms. Brezhneva expressed her satisfaction with the fact that in the era of globalization she, as a global citizen, had an opportunity to have a public voice and to influence the future. She encouraged the audience not to stop until we have achieved fairness, dignity and equality for all women and girls. The Goodwill Ambassador noted that we should not stop our efforts until no child anywhere is HIV positive.

She referenced Secretary General’s Global Plan which has led to considerable progress in this regard. UNAIDS has mobilized leaders, partners, mothers and fathers in order to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. According to Ms. Brezhneva, the Global Plan has allowed to save over 800 thousand infants from HIV. Today, everything is being done to keep their mothers alive. The global campaign titled “Believe It, Do It” has made a contribution to achieving this goal as well. The statistics is, nevertheless, still striking: in 2013, 240 thousand infants worldwide were still born with HIV AIDS. By the end of the year 2015 this number is supposed to be close to zero.

However, we are still not reaching every mother and child. The UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador noted that she was “shoked” by the fact that HIV was still the leading cause of death worldwide for women of reproductive age and that over 60 per cent of all new HIV infections globally were among adolescent girls.

Ms. Brezhneva drew a parallel between HIV AIDS and violence. She emphasized that violence against women and girls increased their vulnerability to infection. Therefore, as Ms. Brezhneva noted, it is particularly important to help those that have difficult living conditions. Having met inspiring women and girls living with HIV in Armenia, Russia and Ukraine, Ms. Brezhneva realized that they did not need our statistical data or good intentions. What they wanted was respect, practical assistance and support.

The UN AIDS Goodwill Ambassador concluded by calling on the audience to "do something to change the situation." “Only if we do something together and do our utmost can we really change the world. I am confident that through our joint efforts we can help every woman and every child,” noted Ms. Brezhneva.

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