Don’t forget the girls: an important message from UNFPA executive director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin

19 APRIL 2012 – In an op/ed published in Huffington Post, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of PMNCH member UNFPA, has applauded the international community for recognizing the importance of safe motherhood and women's reproductive health as a crucial development issue, and makes the case for remembering the needs of the girl child as a first step in addressing these issues.

“When a girl gets an education, has the power to delay her first pregnancy, and is healthy and equipped with the right skills and opportunities, she holds the key to unlocking many of the world's most pressing problems: reducing maternal and child death, halting the spread of HIV, breaking the cycle of poverty, advancing gender equality and propelling countries' social and economic development,” Dr Osotimehin wrote.

“I am today the lucky grandfather of three healthy grandchildren. It is my sincere hope that all young people, including adolescent girls, will get the needed opportunities to realize their potential and to live fulfilling, healthy lives. In this debate on Global Motherhood, I encourage all: please don't forget the girls.”

More details about how UNFPA, together with fellow PMNCH members UNAIDS, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Johnson & Johnson, are working together to make a meaningful difference for safe motherhood can be found in the Johnson & Johnson 2011 Annual Report.