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As MDGs Set To Expire In 2015, U.N. Panel To Advise On Approaches To Development; African Progress Panel Calls For 'Big Push' On Continent

“The presidents of Indonesia and Liberia — Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — and the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, are to co-chair a U.N. panel to advise on approaches to development after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015,” SciDev.Net reports. “Announcing the chairs to the U.N. General Assembly [on Wednesday], Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, also said he would appoint an assistant secretary-general for post-2015 development planning,” the news service writes, adding, “The panel will consider the mixed success of the eight MDGs, which were set in 2000 and provide targets for reducing poverty and promoting social development through such areas as education, reduction of HIV infection rates and infant mortality” (Irwin, 5/12).

Scientific American Examines Global Progress Toward Clean Drinking Water, Sanitation Goals

“U.N. Development Goals for better drinking water have already been reached, but a closer look shows that the measures fail to truly account for the lack of access to safe water,” Scientific American reports in a feature story. “[J]ust because water is pouring out of a spigot does not mean that it is safe to drink,” the article states, adding, “In poorer areas, where infrastructure and sanitation are often much worse, even sources of water that have been ‘improved’ are frequently at risk for contamination by human and animal feces, according to recent analyses.” The magazine details a number of studies on the issue and concludes, “[W]hether there are 800 million or 1.8 billion people who lack safe water, the scourge of preventable deadly diarrheal and other waterborne diseases will continue to plague too many” (Harmon, 5/21).

AlertNet Examines Pakistan's Progress Toward Achieving MDGs

“Progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] remains a challenge for Pakistan,” AlertNet reports, writing, “There is a need to accelerate the efforts to achieve the desired results by 2015.” The news service provides statistics regarding the country’s progress toward some of these goals and writes, “This calls for the federal and provincial governments to take appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures to save these precious lives.” The news service adds, “Furthermore, the federal and provincial governments should prioritize policies and programs on nutrition, vaccination, and health workers and make sufficient budgetary allocations” (Arshad, 5/24).

World Achieves MDG For Safe Water Years Before Target Date

“Developing countries have already achieved their 2015 [Millennium Development Goal (MDG)] of drastically reducing the number of people without regular access to improved drinking water, though much of the credit lies with India and China,” UNICEF and the WHO said in a joint report (.pdf) on Tuesday, Reuters reports (Charbonneau, 3/6). “According to the [WHO] and UNICEF joint monitoring program for water supply and sanitation (JMP), between 1990 and 2010 more than two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells” and “at the end of 2010, 89 percent of the population — 6.1 billion people — now used improved drinking water sources, one percent more than the 88 percent target contained in [MDG] number seven, set in 2000,” the Guardian writes (Ford, 3/6).

Meeting MDG Safe Water Target Cause For Celebration, But More Work Remains To Bring Access To All

The achievement of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for safe drinking water “shows that where there is a will, it is possible to truly transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people for the better,” Sanjay Wijesekera, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene for UNICEF, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.” “Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where progress towards achieving the target is off-track, 273 million additional people gained access to drinking water since 1990,” he writes, adding, “So, we should raise our hats to the governments, organizations, communities and individuals who put great effort and resources into making this happen.”

Al Jazeera Examines Global Maternal Mortality

Al Jazeera examines maternal mortality worldwide, saying, “If the situation continues at its current rate, the world will not meet” the U.N. Millennium Development Goal “to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent between 1990 and 2015.” Though the estimated number of women who die of maternal mortality has dropped from 546,000 in 1990 to 340,000 today, a woman’s lifetime risk of dying during or following pregnancy in developing countries “is still high at one in 31,” compared with one in 4,300 in developed countries, the news agency reports. “Attaining zero maternal death would require greater community involvement and commitment” and increased access to contraceptives and skilled birth attendants, according to experts, Al Jazeera notes (Arjunpuri, 3/19).

Opinion Piece, Editorial Address Results From Millennium Villages Project

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP), established in Africa to determine what improvements can be made when programs addressing health, education, agriculture, and other development needs are implemented simultaneously, published its first results in the Lancet on Tuesday. The following opinion piece and editorial address the findings.

U.N. Secretary-General Focuses On MDGs During African Union Summit

Addressing the 14th African Union (AU) Summit on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for African countries to maintain their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “which include reducing poverty, disease and child mortality, ahead of their target date of 2015,” BBC reports. Leaders from 53 African countries are gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the three-day summit (1/31).

Washington Post Examines Birth Simulator For Health Worker Training In Developing World

A new device which simulates childbirth on a real woman could help train health workers to deliver babies and deal with complications, according to the Washington Post, which adds that the $100 low-tech “frontpack” is called “‘MamaNatalie,’ a name that plays on ‘natalis,’ which means ‘pertaining to birth’ in Latin.”   “The abdomen is made…

AU Summit Panel Focuses On Water, Sanitation To Meet MDG Targets In Africa

African countries should focus on preventing diarrhea – the biggest killer of children in Africa – in order to achieve Millennium Development Goal targets, Yunia Musaazi, WaterAid’s East Africa policy advisor, told delegates at the 15th African Union (AU) Summit, PANA/Afrique en ligne reports.

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