WASHINGTON, June 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- PSI Board Member and Global Ambassador Ashley Judd joined the Executive Director of UNFPA, Thoraya Obaid, the former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and the Vice President for Africa of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesi, calling on the global community to place women's health at the center of the global agenda, with the adequate resources and political will necessary to deliver a brighter future for girls and women.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100608/DC17390) (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100608/DC17390)

We can do these things and we must do these things, Judd said at the opening press conference of the Women Deliver 2010 conference on maternal and reproductive health. The conference has brought more than 3,000 leaders, advocates and officials from around the world together with one combined purpose: to save the lives of girls and women through a greater focus on women's health and empowerment.

Women are at the economic heart of our world. And to achieve all they must achieve, they need to be healthy, Judd said. The benefits of investing in women are enormous. When women earn an income, they are more likely than men to put their income toward food, medicine, education, and other family needs, which benefits not just families but entire communities.

Judd and her fellow panelists called for increased financial investment to fulfill Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 - to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Speaking at the press conference, President Bachelet - one of the Honorary Co-Chairs of the conference - referred to the upcoming target date for the MDGs and warned: To improve on MDG 5 we need concerted action in these remaining five years.

PSI believes that health is the cornerstone of a woman's overall development and throughout the conference PSI will participate in several Women Deliver plenaries and panels to discuss low-cost, innovative solutions to increase access to reliable reproductive health products and services:

On Tuesday: -- PSI Board Member Ashley Judd will host a panel on Taking Innovation to Scale: Increasing access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) across the globe On Wednesday: -- PSI CEO Karl Hofmann will participate in a panel on Communities Deliver: Eliminating Disparities in Family Planning Access -- PSI Board Member Ashley Judd will moderate a plenary on Young Women Deliver -- PSI will also present on panels entitled Innovative strategies to improve services and increase access and Preventing Postpartum Hemorrhage

About PSI

PSI is a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. Working in partnership within the public and private sectors, and harnessing the power of markets, PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications that empower the world's most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives. http://www.psi.org


CONTACT: Anna Dirksen of PSI, +1-646-544-8492, adirksen@psi.org