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Date of Birth: 31/10/2011, Name: Lebanese 7 Billionth Baby, Place: All of Lebanon

UNFPA Welcomes Newborns and Promotes Awareness on the Day of the 7 Billion

On 31 October 2011, world population reached seven billion people. This is a unique moment in human history. It constitutes an achievement and a challenge at the same time. In a world of seven billion people live longer and healthier lives and couples choose to have smaller families. However a world of seven billion also brings on new challenges such as inequality, empowerment of youth and women, access to health services and environmental sustainability. What is certain is that October 31, the Day of the 7 Billion, provides a rare opportunity for a renewed commitment to a healthy and sustainable world.

In an attempt to concretize the symbolic importance of the 7 Billion day, UNFPA organized a campaign to welcome the Lebanese 7 Billionth babies. This initiative was organized jointly with the Ministry of Public Health and the Lebanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The initiative attempted to reach every girl and boy born on 31 October, from the dusk till dawn. It was implemented in 17 public hospitals throughout Lebanese regions namely: Baalbek, Zahle, Hermel, Beirut, Rashaya, Dahr Al Bashiq, Siblin, Marjayoun, Mays, Tyre, Saida, Nabatiyeh, Halba, Byblos, Tripoli, Dinniyah, Wadi Khaled.

In these 17 maternity wards, midwives distributed welcome packages to newborns and their mothers. Packages included promotional baby material around the 7 billion logo as well as informative pamphlets providing guidance on neonatal, family planning and sexual and reproductive health to both parents. Newborns were also provided with a birth certificate outlining their commitment to safeguard the future of the planet, as a reminder of the shared responsibility to care for each other.

The event was largely covered by the media and was enthusiastically received by the parents who expressed their happiness to be part of such a significant event. Hyam El Zein from Zahle hoped for her newborn girl Rahaf to “grow up in a world better than ours, with no wars and better economic situation”. Both Hyam and her husband Ahmad agreed that they will allow enough spacing should they decide to have a third child.

The Lebanese 7 Billionth Baby initiative was implemented in the context of the “World at 7 Billion Campaign” led by UNFPA Lebanon. The campaign aims at raising awareness on the opportunities and challenges associated with a world of 7 Billion and at calling on decision-makers, civil society, the private sector, media and individuals to take action. The campaign focused on seven emerging challenges that face Lebanon and the globe alike: 1) poverty and inequality; 2) the empowerment of women and girls; 3) reproductive health and rights; 4) youth; 5) aging of the population; 6) the environment; and 7) urbanization.