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WHO African Region Member States Have Challenges To Meet MDGs, WHO/AFRO Director Says

Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.

An executive summary of the MDGs presented at the meeting of the region’s ministers of health said “only seven [countries] are on track to achieve the MDG 4 target on child health and only two countries — Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea — are on track to achieve [the] MDG 5 target on maternal mortality,” the Nation writes, adding that “[t]he summary also indicated that Botswana and Rwanda have antiretroviral treatment coverage of more than 80 percent for people living with HIV” (9/2). In a progress report on polio eradication released Thursday, Sambo said countries in the region “continued to make good progress in polio eradication in spite of outbreaks recorded in some Member States over the last two years,” according to a WHO/AFRO press release (9/1).

In opening remarks at the beginning of the conference on Monday, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, “Even though money is tight nearly everywhere, health continues to command support at the top of the international agenda,” but added that national leadership is vital to improving health outcomes (8/29).