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Nations Pledge $40 Billion Toward Maternal and Child Health


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wrapped up the three-day Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit with a profound statement. “The [struggling world economy] is no excuse for letting up our efforts, but underscores the need for actions.” The UN Summit concluded on September 22, 2010 with the adoption of a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015, including the renewed commitment for women’s and children’s health.

The Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health Aims to Save Millions

The Millennium Declaration in 2000 set the eight MDG’s with the reasoning that every individual around the world should be able to enjoy freedom from extreme poverty and hunger, quality education, productive and decent employment, good health and shelter, equality for men and women, and environmental sustainability. In June, the UN released its ten-year progress report which did find that major advances had improved the world’s health and well-being, but that a greater commitment would be needed to meet the goals.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that there are still 1 billion people in the world living on less than $1.25 a day. Worldwide every year, an estimated 8 million children still die before reaching their 5th birthday. About 350,000 women die annually during pregnancy or childbirth.

Read: More Women Surviving Pregnancy and Childbirth than 20 Years Ago

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At the summit, Ban Ki-moon launched the “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health”, an initiative which aims to save the lives of 16 million mothers and children over the next five years. “In many parts of the world,” he says, “women have yet to benefit from advances that made childbirth much safer nearly 100 years ago.” He also notes that “Millions of children die from malnutrition and disease which we have known how to treat for decades.”

Donor countries, beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, private corporations, and healthcare provider organizations are the sources for $40 billion in funding for the global initiative.

Read: World Hunger Dropping for First Time in 15 Years

Both the United States and Britain are among those committing resources toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals. US President Barack Obama told world leaders at the summit that “We will keep our promises and honor our commitments.” Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the goals “are the key to lasting safety and future prosperity.”

The World Health Organization will chair the global strategy and will deliver a progress report annually to the UN General Assembly.