Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Health-Related Millennium Development Goals out of Reach for Many Countries

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Health-Related Millennium Development Goals out of Reach for Many Countries

Article excerpt

Many developing countries will not be able to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) unless clear and immediate action is taken combined with a concerted effort over the next 12 years, warned the World Bank and WHO in Geneva at a meeting on 8 and 9 January.

The meeting brought together representatives from concerned countries, development agencies and UN organizations to assess progress towards the health-related goals and to map out a future strategy for their achievement. The World Bank and WHO noted that the health goals are particularly difficult to meet and that progress towards them is slower than towards some of the other goals. Four of the eight MDGs, set at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, relate to health: to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds, halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, combat HIV/ AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and improve access to safe drinking-water and essential drugs.

"When these kinds of targets are set, it seems too soon to take urgent action, and then, after a few short years, it seems too late," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General. "Where the targets are the product of a large consensus there is also the hazard of everyone waiting for everyone else to risk making the first move. We still have time to avoid these pitfalls with the targets for 2015, but to do so we have to act now."

The World Bank estimates that progress against child mortality has so far been so slow that no sub-Saharan country in Africa is on target to reach this goal. …

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