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Declining Funding May Cause U.N. to Fall Short of Health Goals

Last Updated: September 26, 2012.

Improving women's and children's health a priority.


Improving women's and children's health a priority

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Declining donor funding is one of the reasons most of the world will not meet the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals for women's and children's health by 2015, according to a new report.

The Millennium Development Goals were established in an effort to solve such global problems as poverty, hunger, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health.

Although some countries have achieved notable reductions in mother and child deaths during the past decade, millions of women and children still die every year from preventable causes, noted the authors of the report in a news release from The Lancet.

Those causes need to be dealt with more urgently worldwide and in certain countries, according to the first report from the U.N. Secretary-General's independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health.

The report noted that declining rates of donor funding and a failure to direct resources to the countries with the greatest need could have devastating consequences for millions of women and children worldwide.

The report was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

The major preventable and neglected causes of death among children are increasingly occurring among newborns (3.1 million deaths). A large number of preventable deaths also occur during the post-neonatal period (from one month to one year after birth), with 1.1 million deaths from pneumonia, 750,000 deaths from diarrhea and 560,000 deaths from malaria.

The decline in death rates among women falls well short of the goal for 2015. The situation among adolescent girls is especially serious. Girls aged 15 to 19 account for one in eight births in low-income settings. Girls in that same age group account for a quarter of unsafe abortions in sub-Saharan Africa, the findings showed.

The report also found that the world's highest death rates among women and children are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report makes many recommendations to improve worldwide progress on women's and children's health, including:

  • Strengthening the ties between countries, donors, health professionals, researchers, foundations and the private sector.
  • Establishing a framework to guide investments in women's and children's health.
  • Setting clearer priorities for implementing the Millennium Development Goals in each country.
  • Increasing the evaluation and implementation of technology used to make health decisions.
  • Strengthening human-rights frameworks in participating countries.
  • Improving evaluation and accountability.

More information

The World Health Organization has more about the Millennium Development Goals.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Sept. 26, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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