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Letters To Editor Respond To NYT Editorial On Global Health MDGs

The New York Times on Monday published two letters to the editor written in response to a September 11 New York Times editorial. The editorial stated, “International health programs have greatly reduced death and sickness worldwide over the past two decades but there is still a long way to go,” and it discussed efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health.

  • Babatunde Osotimehin: “[T]he leading causes of maternal death are largely preventable and treatable with inexpensive antibiotics and medicines that can stop postpartum bleeding and life-threatening hypertension and seizures,” Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, writes. “The tragedy is that these basic, inexpensive supplies — available everywhere and taken for granted in rich countries — are scarce or nonexistent in the poorest ones,” he states, adding, “Increasing access to basic medicines and clean supplies would save the lives of more than 180,000 women every year, and as many as a third of vulnerable lives could be rescued if women had access to contraception to plan their pregnancies; 222 million women still lack this” (9/16).
  • Huguette Labelle: “We agree … that more money and intensive effort are needed to achieve the goals that are lagging,” Labelle, chair of Transparency International, writes, adding, “However, a greater insistence on good governance and on a new governance goal is essential to achieve current and future development goals.” She continues, “Our research shows that where bribery is low and where there is transparency in how governments spend money, people have better access to education, health and basic services like clean water. Galvanizing governments around good governance can significantly help to meet the development goals at their halfway mark in 2015 and take us beyond to reach new goals for 2030” (9/16).