World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Millions Of Maternal And Child Deaths Preventable


Millions Of Maternal And Child Deaths Are Preventable, UN Says On World Health Day

With more than half a million women dying in pregnancy or childbirth each year and nearly 11 million children succumbing annually before their fifth birthday, the United Nations system today devoted this year’s World Health Day to the hundreds of millions of women and children who have no access to potentially life-saving care.

“This is a public health crisis and a moral outrage,” UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said in a message stressing that far too many women are deprived of access to basic health services that are fundamental to the fulfilment of their human rights.

“Let us move from lines in speeches to budget lines,” she added, calling for a sharp increase in cost-effective interventions that have been shown to work, such as skilled medical attendants for delivery which would reduce maternal deaths by nearly 75 per cent, or simple family planning services that could cut maternal mortality by 25 per cent and child deaths by 20 per cent.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by world leaders at a UN summit five years ago pledged to reduce maternal deaths by three quarters and cut child mortality by two thirds by 2015. But, he said in his message, “while there has been progress in some regions, there has been stagnation in others.

“In some countries, progress has even been reversed. World Health Day is an opportunity to highlight the problem, but above all, to stimulate action. It is an occasion to call on all partners – governments, international donors, civil society, the private sector, the media, families and individuals alike – to develop sustainable activities for the survival, health and well-being of mothers and children.”

In an annual report published to mark the day, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the death toll could be sharply reduced through wider use of “key interventions” and a “continuum of care” approach to mother and child that begins before pregnancy and extends through childbirth and into the baby’s childhood.

According to “The World Health Report 2005 – Make every mother and child count,” almost 90 per cent of all deaths among children under five are attributable to just six causes – such as birth asphyxia and infections, diarrhoea and measles – that are largely avoidable through existing care that is simple, affordable and effective.

While this requires massive investment in health systems, “this approach has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people,” WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said. “Giving mothers, babies and children the care they need is an absolute imperative.”

The report estimated that out of 136 million births each year worldwide, less than two thirds of women in less developed countries and only one third in the least developed countries have their babies delivered by a skilled attendant. More than 3 million babies are stillborn and more than 4 million newborns die within the first days or weeks of life.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) highlighted environmental hazards as a major cause of global death and disease, with the burden falling disproportionately on women and young children, especially in less developed countries.

It stressed the importance of promoting environmentally sound technologies for freshwater and sanitation provision, clean energy solutions to combat indoor and outdoor air pollution, and wide-ranging programmes to mitigate chemical and hazardous waste pollution.

And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) underscored its role in helping developing countries acquire the radiation therapy that will be needed to treat 175 million of the estimated 260 million new cancer cases that will need such care over the next 20 years.

“We are working to apply nuclear techniques where they will count the most, to enhance the lives of people around the globe," IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in describing the peaceful applications of nuclear technology supported by his agency, such as low-cost screening methods for hepatitis C and congenital hypothyroidism, detecting drug resistance in malaria and tuberculosis cases, monitoring nutritional problems and improving management of food supplementation programmes.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news