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The State of the World's Children 2007 launched in Pakistan

© UNICEF/PAKA/Adnan
UNICEF's Acting Representative, Terje Thodesen speaking at the SoWC 2007 launch

The State of the World’s Children (SoWC) is UNICEF’s annual flagship publication which focuses the double dividend of gender equality in its 2007 issue. The report was launched in New York on December 11 by UNICEF’s Executive Director, Ms. Ann Veneman.

In Pakistan, a national launch was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health on December 14. The Federal Minister for Health, Mohammad Nasir Khan was the chief guest while the event was attended by senior government officials,  UNICEF’s partner organizations, Representatives of UN agencies, NGOs and representatives of the print and electronic media.

Titled, Women and children: The Double Dividend of Gender Equality, the report focuses on the fact that educated, healthy women participating in decisions made in households, the workplace and the political sphere produce educated healthy children and raise indicators on health and wellbeing. The report highlights how gender inequality leads to poverty among children, families and communities.

In her foreword of the SoWC 2007, UNICEF’s Executive Director, Ms. Ann Veneman observes, “Gender equality and the well-being of children go hand in hand. When women are empowered to live full and productive lives, children prosper. UNICEF’s experience also shows the opposite: When women are denied equal opportunity with a society, children suffer.” 

© UNICEF/PAKA/Adnan
Ms. Shahida Azfar, Chief Executive of FPAP and former Regional Director UNICEF addressing the gathering at SoWC launch

Reinforcing Pakistan government’s commitment at the national launch, the Health Minister, Mohammad Nasir Khan said “women’s heath issues were a priority of the government in view of maternal and neo natal mortality in the country as well as government’s national and international commitments to improve these health indicators.”
 
“Women are the hardest hit by this situation. As a result of gender discrimination women’s influence is low in key decisions that shape their lives and those of their children,” Ms. Shahida Azfar, head of Family Planning Association of Pakistan, speaking on the occasion.  Quoting figures from the report, in 2005 Pakistan has an under-5 infant mortality rate of 100 per 1,000 live births. Every twenty minutes a woman dies due to causes related to pregnancy and child birth. Sixty percent of rural Pakistanis have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

UNICEF’s Acting Representative, Terje Thodesen availed this opportunity to thank the government counterparts, donors and partners from the development sector for their continued and consistent support to the organization in implementation of its country programme as well as emergency relief activities.

 

 

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