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$50 million from Bill and Melinda Gates will fund Columbia Public Health program to prevent maternal deaths in developing nations

School Of Public Health Research Shows That Mortality Rates As High As 1 In 12 Can Be Dramatically Improved By Access To Emergency Care

New York, N.Y., May 10, 1999. Columbia University's Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health has been awarded $50 million from Bill and Melinda Gates for an international health program to prevent one of the most serious, but treatable health problems in developing nations -- maternal death and disability. The gift was announced at Columbia's Manhattan campus today.

Under the leadership of Allan Rosenfield, M.D., and Deborah Maine, Dr.P.H., of the School's Center for Population and Family Health, the grant will provide vital support to government programs, as well as national and international non-governmental organizations and local and international women's groups whose aim is to prevent maternal death.

"The Gates Foundation gift is of critical importance because of the long-term impact it will have on millions of lives," said Columbia President George Rupp. "With the combined efforts of a private foundation, a research university and government and community-based assistance organizations, we have the best chance of improving health care in areas of the world where the need is greatest."

"I'm proud to be here today on behalf of Bill and Melinda," said William Gates Sr., foundation director. "Our family shares Columbia's vision of raising the standards of maternal care in developing countries. Dr. Rosenfield and his team here at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health are doing great work to build a program that will put in place permanently the resources to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year."

Every minute of every day, a woman in Asia, Africa or Latin America dies as a result of complications of pregnancy or childbirth. In some parts of Africa, maternal mortality claims 1 out of 12 women, compared to 1 out of 4000 wome
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Contact: Virgil Renzulli, Office of Public Affairs
renzulli@columbia.edu
212-854-5576
Columbia University
10-May-1999


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