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To Achieve MDGs, Economic Policies Must Help Poor, UNDP Head Says

Economic policies that help the poor will bring the world closer to meeting the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] – “[g]lobal targets to halve poverty and improve basic health by 2015,” Helen Clark, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) administrator, said Friday at the end of a four-nation tour of Africa, Agence France-Presse reports.

Two-Thirds Of Child Deaths In 2008 Due To Infectious Diseases, Report Finds

Pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and other infectious diseases account for more than two-thirds of the 8.8 million deaths in 2008 among children under age 5 around the world, according to a Lancet study published on Wednesday, HealthDay News/Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. The highest numbers of childhood deaths were in Africa (4.2 million) and Southeast Asia (2.39 million), according to the news service (5/11).

Also In Global Health News: Aid, Polio In Pakistan; Abortion In Africa; NGO Licenses; India’s Maternal Mortality Rates; HIV/AIDS In Philippines; MDGs

U.S. Aid To Pakistan; Anti-Polio Efforts Politico examines the debate over how the U.S. should spend its aid to Pakistan, which has “new urgency after the Times Square car bomb attempt May 1.” According to Politico, “[m]ajor U.S. investments are now envisioned in energy, agriculture and education. The article looks…

Health Leaders From Sub-Saharan Africa Gather For Three-Day Conference On Family Planning In Kenya

A three-day conference exploring ways to increase access to family planning services in Africa kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, Capital FM reports. The meeting, which is hosted by USAID, will bring together “USAID’s partners in Sub Saharan Africa who include Angola, Burundi, [Democratic Republic of Congo], Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Tanzania,” to work to identify gaps in reproductive and family planning services and address ways to reach out to populations in need, the news service writes (Karong’o, 5/11).

‘Striking Improvements’ Toward MDG Targets, Progress Is Unequal, WHO Report Says

The WHO’s annual health statistics report, released Monday, found that global efforts aimed at achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets have led to “striking improvements” among goals related to child health, maternal mortality, malaria and HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. But the “results mask inequalities between countries, and some nations’ progress had been slowed by conflict, poor governance or humanitarian and economic crises,” the news service writes (Kelland, 5/10).

Recent Releases In Global Health

WHO Bulletin Editorial Reflects On Health-Related MDGs Progress, Challenges After highlighting successes and failures of efforts to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an editorial appearing in the WHO Bulletin reflects, “[t]he variable progress achieved begs the question of the feasibility of the MDG goals and targets. … The MDGs…

U.N. Development Program Head Begins Four-Country Tour Of Africa To Promote MDGs

Over the weekend, U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark began a four-country tour of Africa “to highlight progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run up to a Summit in September,” Tanzania Daily News/allAfrica.com reports. Clark will make stops in Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Africa, where she will “meet with Heads of State and Ministers, as well as touch base with women leaders and members of civil society, and visit development projects,” the news service writes.

Lake Sworn In As UNICEF Executive Director

Anthony Lake, who “has been a foreign policy advisor to several Democratic U.S. presidents and presidential candidates,” has officially become the executive director of UNICEF, Agence France-Presse reports (5/2). Lake was sworn into office Monday by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. headquarters in New York, according to a UNICEF article (5/3).

While Global Adult Mortality Rates Drop, Gaps Between Countries Grow, Lancet Study Finds

“The global mortality rate for adults [ages 15-59] has fallen by about 1 percent a year for the past 40 years, with women making greater gains than men and huge differences opening up between countries and regions over that period, according to a new study” published online Friday in the journal Lancet, the Washington Post reports, noting the study offers “the most detailed nation-by-nation trends in adult mortality” to date.