Phnom Penh, 21 February 2011
The First Lady of Cambodia, Lok Chumteav Dr Bun Rany Hun Sen, was officially recognised as the National Champion for the UN Secretary-General’s Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health at a ceremony today.
Attended by more than 700 people, including HE Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and HE Dr. Mam Bun Heng, Minister for Health, representatives of the UN System as well as midwives and health specialists from across the country, Dr Bun Rany Hun Sen formally accepted her new advocacy role.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director, Ms Nobuko Horibe presented Dr Bun Rany with a dossier of letters of acknowledgement from the UN System commended her for the role, which aims to speed up progress in Cambodia to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, improving maternal health.
“Each year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes. In Cambodia alone five women a day die giving life. Less than half of all babies are delivered in a health facility, and just 60 percent of births are assisted by trained birth attendants,” Ms Horibe said.
“These are Cambodian women and children with faces and names. Their suffering is unacceptable in the 21st century when we have the knowledge and means to ensure their health and wellbeing.”
Ms Horibe said Dr Bun Rany’s role as National Champion would also complement the Royal Government of Cambodia’s prioritisation of the issue, through its Fast Track Initiative Road Map for Reducing Maternal & Newborn Mortality 2010 – 2015.
“There are just five years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and although we know that the health of women and children is the key to progress on all development goals, we have made less progress globally on MDG5 than any other. Cambodia needs to scale up its response if it wants to meet its MDG5 target by 2015,” she said.
“When the First Lady speaks about the importance of visiting a health clinic before, during and after delivery; proper family planning; improved nutrition and sanitation; knowing the danger signs during pregnancy; and the assistance of skilled birth attendants, people will listen.
“When she says that no woman should die giving life, and that we need to prioritise women’s health, Cambodian people and those who support this country’s development efforts will listen. “
Dr Bun Rany has a distinguished record of leadership and advocacy in support of major health and social issues affecting the welfare of Cambodians, particularly in her leadership role as the APLF National Champion on HIV/AIDS in Cambodia.
As National Champion, Dr Bun Rany will make regular visits to health centres across Cambodia, meeting with midwives and other health professionals, women and their families, and community groups to advocate healthy motherhood.
The Cambodian Red Cross, United Nations Population Fund, the Ministry of Health, the National Maternal and Child Health Committee, and the Cambodian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development will also participate in a televised roundtable forum on the issue, enabling greater coordination and prioritisation of women and newborn health in policy and programmes in Cambodia.
“The UN partnership for the Secretary-General’s Joint Action Plan, which comprises the World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Population Fund, World Bank and UNAIDS, stand ready to support your advocacy efforts as National Champion. This partnership and your significant commitment are recognised by the UN System as a whole,” Ms Horibe said.
“We remain your dedicated partner and supporter and look forward to the opportunity to assist you as we move forward to respond to Cambodia’s most critical needs in this important area of priority.”
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For further information, please contact:
Casey McCarthy, UN Communication and Advocacy Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator
Tel: +855 (0)23 216 167, ext. 124, Mobile: +855 (0)17 996 540, Email:
Sophanara Pen, Communications Associate, UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
Tel: +855 (0) 216 295, ext. 303, Mobile: +855 (0)12 602311, Email: