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Guinea-Bissau: UN Goodwill Amb. & Maternal Health

Guinea-Bissau: United Nations goodwill ambassador helps boost maternal health

28 July 2008 - The first brick in the construction of a maternity surgical unit has been laid in eastern Guinea-Bissau by Catarina Furtado, a well-known Portuguese actress and television personality who is also Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

At the groundbreaking ceremony in the town of Gabu on Friday, Ms. Furtado noted the importance of the project for the reduction of maternal mortality in Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's poorest and least developed countries.

Citing the UNFPA slogan "Because everyone counts," she appealed for wide and effective participation and commitment to the project's success.

UNFPA said the building would provide life-saving services to newborns and their mothers in a country where women die at an alarming rate while giving birth.

In December 2006 Ms. Furtado helped raise nearly $400,000 during a 12-hour televised dance marathon. The money was donated to UNFPA for use in a Portuguese-speaking country.

Local authorities, government and UN officials, religious leaders, young people and the general public attended the event, which included traditional dances, theatre and music.

ENDS

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