President Cyril Ramaphosa met with the Right Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), to discuss the need for leaders to urgently address the reversals being witnessed in the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.

These reversals have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and other compounding crises, such as increasing incidences of conflict and the climate emergency.  

President Ramaphosa and Rt Hon Helen Clark met today, Thursday, 25 August 2022.

Half-way toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world is at a point where instead of working towards closing the gender equity gap, decades of progress are being rolled back, with women’s and girls’ fundamental rights and health under threat. 

PMNCH is the world’s largest alliance for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being, partnering with sovereign states and over 1,300 partner organizations, hosted by the World Health Organization. The mission of PMNCH is to “mobilise, align and amplify the voices of partners to advocate for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being, particularly the most vulnerable.”
 
The President and Rt. Hon. Clark explored opportunities to undertake high-level political advocacy and strategic interventions to amass political, financial, and programmatic commitments from all sectors of society, including the private sector, critical to delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes the SDG 3 targets for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, especially in the face of the toxic combination of COVID-19, escalating gender-based violence, economic instability, the climate crisis and conflicts. 
 
South Africa’s leadership is anchored in a set of commitments by the government to implement various programs at the country level that address service delivery, financial resourcing, nutrition, HIV prevention and youth empowerment. 
 
Says President Ramaphosa: “I was impressed with the way the PMNCH sought to elicit our commitments for our people first because indeed charity begins at home. I hope that as Head of State, I can  build confidence in our ability to positively impact these vulnerable population groups by sharing the models being implemented across the Republic of South Africa, exchanging best practices, and mobilizing other champions to galvanise greater action, thereby elicit lasting commitments for real change in the lived experience of our women, adolescents and children.” 

The Right Honorable Helen Clark met with President Ramaphosa to invite President Ramaphosa to engage closely with PMNCH to shape the agenda for the Partnership at the highest political levels. “We are deeply honored that President Ramaphosa has agreed to support this critical agenda as we need urgent and transformative action to reverse these worrying trends. This will help drive the much-needed political will behind issues that impact on outcomes for women, children and adolescents. At PMNCH, we are committed to working alongside the President to position this agenda so that action is taken to get back on track towards achievement of SDG3. “At this time when compounding crises are rolling back previous progress made on women’s empowerment and the health of communities,” she said.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

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