we reported last week on the UN special session on maternal mortality at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, that the Holy See was excluded from making an oral intervention at the special session on that day.
Due to the fact that the Holy See along with other delegations was unable due to time constraints to make the intervention orally arrangements were made for these to be submitted to the secretariat and placed on the UN website
We now report on the intervention prepared by the Papal Nuncio to the UN in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi for that session and which was subsequently submitted to the UN secretariat for inclusion on the website.
Archbishop Tomasi in his intervention focused on the issue of both maternal and child mortality.
"My delegation" according to Archbishop Tomasi's statement
wishes to express its urgent concerns about the shocking number of maternal deaths that continue to occur – estimated by reliable indicators at 350,000 a year – most especially among the poorest and most marginalized and disenfranchised populationsThe Archbishop's statement quoted the recently issued Lancet report figures thus directly challenging the now discredited figures presented in the High Commissioners report on maternal mortality.
The Holy See's approach to Maternal Mortality according to Archbishop Tomasi's intervention, is holistic, since it gives priority to the rights of mothers and child, both those already born and those awaiting birth in the womb of the mother.
Improvements to reduce Maternal Mortality according to the Archbishop
have been made possible due to higher per capita income, higher education rates for women and increasing availability of basic medical care, including "skilled birth attendants". A recent study on Maternal Mortality has suggested that maternal mortality in Africa could be significantly reduced if HIV-positive mothers were given access to antiretroviral medications. The availability of emergency obstetric care, including the provision of universal pre and post-natal care, and adequate transport to medical facilities (when necessary), skilled birth attendants, a clean blood supply and a clean water supply, appropriate antibiotics, and the introduction of a minimum age of 18 years for marriage, are all measures that could benefit both mothers and their children.
Link to Archbishop Tomasi's full statement