U.N. secretary-general highlights importance of private sector in maternal health

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed the necessity on Tuesday of private sector investments in contributing to maternal health services throughout the world.

Ban made the statements on Tuesday during the Every Woman Every Child Taking Action Summit in New York. Ban said the private sector can contribute to the cause through the U.N. Every Woman Every Child Initiative.

"We want to connect the private sector's greatest strengths with the public sector's greatest challenges," Ban said.

The effort was launched in 2010 and is meant to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015 by mobilizing governments, the private sector, civil society and multilaterals to address the significant health challenges facing women and children worldwide. Thus far, Every Woman Every Child has collected 260 partners and delivered $10 billion in new funding for women's and children's health.

"Philanthropy can play a particularly important role as a catalyst for under-resourced and often neglected areas of women's and children's health that can be quickly made available for larger public and private flows," Ban said.

Ban said old and new partners alike can do more to meet the approaching 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

"Partners in the Every Woman Every Child movement vary - from vaccine donor to grant maker... product innovator to technology developer... researcher to logistics experts... policy advocator to communication specialists," Ban said. "But everyone has a role to play."

The U.N. Foundation, JP Morgan and the MDG Health Alliance hosted the summit.