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New Campaigns on Maternal and Child Mortality Buoyed by Progress Reported on MDGs

Updated data on mortality rates among mothers and young children are likely to encourage G8 leaders, who at their meeting later this week will make this health issue – long considered a neglected area of international development efforts – a 2010 priority.

According to the United Nations annual assessment of progress on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), released today, the number of deaths among children under the age of 5 has dropped from 12.6 million in 1990 to an estimated 8.8 million in 2008, corresponding to a decline in the mortality rate from 100 deaths per 1,000 live births to 72 in 2008 (a 28 per cent decline). But progress is falling short of the MDG target under Goal 4, for a two-thirds reduction in childhood mortality rates between 1990 and 2015, and millions of children continue to die each year at a tragically young age.  

Letter To the Leaders of the G8

To the Leaders of the G8,

Ten years ago, your governments signed and agreed to the UN Millennium Development Goals, including MDG 5 to improve maternal health. With only five years to the 2015 deadline, MDG 5 is significantly off-track. If we are to reach MDG 5 by 2015, the time is now to take action and implement proven strategies and solutions to save the lives of women and girls worldwide. It is time for progress, not just promises. It is time to deliver for women. [Read more...]

On the Eve of the G8: Waiting for the Rubber to Hit the Road

By: Jill Sheffield, president of Women Deliver, originally posted at The Huffington Post

Prime Minister Stephen Harper couldn't make it to the Women Deliver conference earlier this month, where nearly 3,500 advocates and leaders from 146 countries gathered to support action on maternal health, but thankfully his Minister of International Cooperation, Bev Oda, could. She will surely carry back to Canada the message that rang out from the thousands of voices present: it's time to deliver for women. Invest in women, it pays.

On the eve of the G8 and G20 Summits, Harper should heed this message and consider carefully as he gets ready to unveil the Muskoka Iniative -- hopefully a plan with a bold vision and a significant funding scheme. After the tremendous momentum that has built around maternal health as a key development issue, the G8 Summit should not be a denouement but an important stepping stone on the way to achieving our goal. Read more...

Making the Final Push for Political Will

By: Kate Dilley, Administrative Coordinator at Management Sciences for Health, originally posted at haba na haba, hujaza kibaba

One of the most striking admissions I heard during the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington DC (June 7-9) was that the major challenge facing maternal health improvement is a lack of political will. Kathleen Sebelius, the US Secretary for Health and Human Services, suggested that the problem with improving maternal mortality lay not with the lack of knowledge or interventions, but the political will to put that knowledge to action, the will to make maternal mortality a priority of governments, the will to stand up and say that the lives of women matter, and we MUST do something about it. Read more...

Global Parliamentarians Summit Calls for Funding to Maternal and Reproductive Health

The 6th Annual G8 Global Parliamentarians Summit was held on 10-11 June 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The meeting gathered together 100 parliamentarians from around 50 countries representing G8 and G20 nations to discuss the issue of maternal health - MDG5. At the end of a highly interactive two-day conference, the law-makers adopted a strong parliamentary appeal which - as previous years - will be fed into the G8 process and presented to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, host of the Muskoka G8 Heads of State Summit scheduled for 25-26 June. The appeal urged donor governments to meet the international targets of 0.7 GNI for development assistance, devoting a significant portion of this funding to maternal and reproductive health, including family planning. Read more...

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