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Public Health, Social Policies Can Positively Affect Children’s Lives

“Specific calls for global action on health and other social issues can have a major effect on children’s life chances, concludes a report that compared data on laws and public policies affecting children in 191 countries,” BMJ reports. “Children’s Chances,” a report by Jody Heymann, dean of the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, “looked at policies in a range of areas, including health, education, discrimination, and labor laws,” BMJ writes, noting “[p]aid maternity leave of 14 weeks or more was one example of a global call to action” that has had a positive effect on maternal and child health. Heymann “emphasized that her finding of real effects of global recommendations had particular significance as the world deliberated on what should replace the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals when they came up for renewal in 2015,” the news service states. Though countries must change their policies to improve access to public health and social services, “international donors must also step in to bridge the funding gap, Heymann argued,” according to BMJ (Gulland, 2/13).