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Three Reports Evaluate Global Progress To Meet MDGs 4 And 5

Three recent reports — a one-year assessment released by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) of the WHO on Tuesday, an analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington published on Tuesday in the Lancet, and a Save the Children report released on Monday entitled “No Child out of Reach” — examine the progress of the global campaign to save mothers and children under five in developing nations and evaluate whether Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, reducing child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 and maternal deaths by three-quarters over the same period, can be met. 

The PMNCH assessment “highlights progress in the worst-affected countries,” according to the Guardian, which adds, “One year on from a major U.N. meeting to tackle the deaths of women and babies in childbirth, 44 of the world’s poorest countries have made major commitments to the cause, totaling nearly $11 billion.” The newspaper writes, “It is too early to look at what has been achieved, say experts, but there is optimism that the climate has changed and there is a new global focus on preventing deaths in pregnancy and childbirth” (Boseley, 9/19).

According to the IHME analysis, “Only nine out of 137 countries are on track to meet the twin [MDGs], set in 2000,” Agence France-Presse reports, adding, “Based on current trends, 31 developing nations will reach the first target, and 13 will achieve the second” (9/19). BBC News adds that, according to the IHME analysis, “The experts predict that no country in sub-Saharan Africa will meet the goals to dramatically reduce deaths by 2015. But they say progress is speeding up in most countries” (9/19).

According to Save the Children’s “No Child out of Reach” report, “At least 350 million children worldwide will live their whole lives without ever seeing a health worker, resulting in millions of deaths each year from easily preventable diseases,” AlertNet reports. The report “cites a number of underlying causes for the global health worker crisis, including lack of education in developing countries; ‘brain drain’ of skilled health workers; ineffective funding and chronic under-investment in health from both rich and poor countries,” and adds that “the few countries on track to achieve [MDG 4] — such as Bangladesh and Nepal — had slashed infant mortality by investing in community health workers,” according to AlertNet (Liu, 9/19).