Press Releases

    2 July 2002

    Secretary-General Praises Winners of Annual UN Population Award for "Outstanding Contributions to the Betterment of Our World"

    NEW YORK, 1 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations, Gillian Sorensen, to the United Nations Population Awards Ceremony in New York on 1 July:

    I have great pleasure in welcoming all of you to the United Nations Population Award Ceremony for 2002.

    This year is the twenty-first anniversary of the award, which was created to recognize the special contributions of individuals and organizations in the field of population and development. Since its inception, the Inter-governmental Committee for the UN Population Award has capably fulfilled the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

    This year's winner in the individual category is Dr. Kwasi Odoi-Agyarko, Executive Director of Rural Help Integrated in Ghana. This year's institutional award is being given to EngenderHealth of the United States, represented here today by its president, Dr. Amy Pollack.

    Dr. Odoi-Agyarko was selected for his outstanding leadership and achievements in promoting community-based reproductive health services in Ghana. Rural Help Integrated is located in the Upper East Region, one of Ghana's poorest and least accessible, and one that faces issues such as female circumcision. RHI provides culturally sensitive reproductive health care in a model project that has received international attention for its scope and quality. Dr. Odoi-Agyarko has also integrated the RHI model into the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana and has made substantial progress towards the promotion of women to leadership positions.

    EngenderHealth, formerly known as AVSC International, was established in 1943 and initially worked to ensure that American couples could choose surgical sterilization and that these services were voluntary and safe. In 1973, EngenderHealth broadened its geographic scope to work in the developing world, where it has introduced and expanded access to safe and voluntary sterilization services in more than 90 countries. In large part due to EngenderHealth's pioneering work, sterilization is the most prevalent method of contraception worldwide. EngenderHealth was also among the very first international agencies to introduce family planning counselling, and its "Men As Partners" programme has been at the forefront of efforts to reach out to men as constructive partners in reproductive health. Today, EngenderHealth applies its expertise to a broad range of family planning and other reproductive health services, including maternity care, cervical cancer, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

    On behalf of the United Nations, I congratulate both winners of this year's UN Population Award for their outstanding contributions to the betterment of our world. The United Nations, for its part, will continue its efforts to address population issues as an integral part of our global work for social and economic development. Thank you very much.

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