Zero Mothers Die: bold new initiative launched at UN General Assembly event

22 September 2014

Efforts to reduce high maternal and child mortality received a welcome boost with the launch of a new global campaign, Zero Mothers Dieat an official high-level side event held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Unveiled at the 5th Women Leaders Forum on 22 September, the campaign seeks to ensure that all women and girls have universal access to information and services supporting maternal, newborn and child health. Zero Mothers Die intends to use information and communications technologies, including mobile technology, to deliver timely health-care information to women in need.

Participating in the launch of the campaign, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé maintained that the initiative will focus on all pregnant women and new mothers, and will have as an aim preventing mother-to-child-transmission of HIV. He stressed that no mother would be left behind.      

Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, wife of the United Nations Secretary-General, gave the keynote address of the event, which brought together a range of global leaders, including a number of First Ladies. The new campaign contributes to the Every Women Every Child initiative launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010.   

Although significant progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality, it remains a critical issue. According to World Health Organization statistics, every day around 800 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth and in 2013 289 000 women lost their lives.

The event was co-hosted by the Advanced Development for Africa Foundation and the Global Partnerships Forum, in collaboration with UNAIDS, the International Telecommunication Union, the Zero Mothers Die Consortium and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.


"We have to revolutionize the HIV response and ensure that all women have access to the HIV services they need. It is a critical measure of progress made towards the UNAIDS vision of zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination. With your support and commitment we can ensure that zero mothers die."

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

"Every woman’s pregnancy must be considered special. We must invest in e-health and women for greater impact. No baby should die because the right information was not available."

Christine Kaseba, First Lady of Zambia