Gates foundation pledges $1.5 billion for maternal health, babies

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London, June 8 (ANI): Melinda Gates has called upon the world to put in more efforts to save the lives of women during childbirth and their babies.

She was speaking at the Women Deliver conference in Washington.

Melinda also pledged a 1.5 billion dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help nations with high maternal and infant mortality over the next five years in a bid to close the gap on the Millennium Development Goals.

"Every year, millions of newborns die within a matter of days or weeks, and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth. The death toll is so huge, and has persisted for so long, it's easy to think we're powerless to do much about it. The truth is, we can prevent most of these deaths - and at a stunningly low cost - if we take action now," The Guardian quoted her, as saying.

Melinda added: "It is not that the world doesn't know how to save the 350,000 mothers and 3 million newborns who die every year. It is that we haven't tried hard enough. Policymakers in both rich and poor countries have treated women and children as if they matter less than men. They have squandered opportunities to improve their health. The world hasn't come together to do what's necessary to save women's and children's lives.

"Until now. Now, the world is changing. You are changing it. In this room, there are health experts who worked tirelessly for women and children, even when it was lonely work. There are advocates who kept up the drumbeat, even when others were silent. There are government officials who listened, and acted, even when others were deaf and dormant." (ANI)

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