News / Africa

Africa Least Likely to Meet Health Targets Set by UN

A report by the World Health Organization finds Africa is the region least likely to achieve the health targets set by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

This year's World Health Statistics report provides a snapshot of global health trends.  It shows significant progress has been made in a number of areas.  

The report finds fewer children are dying.  Globally, it says less than nine million children under age five died in 2008.  This is down by 30 percent since 1990.  

It says fewer children are underweight, fewer people are becoming infected with HIV, malaria deaths are decreasing and nearly 90 percent of the world's population has access to safe water.

Despite this progress, the report says the world is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  It says the region most off track and least likely to achieve the MDG targets is Africa, and to a lesser extent the Eastern Mediterranean Region.  

Carla Abou-Zahr is Coordinator of the Statistics, Monitoring and Analysis Department at the World Health Organization.  While the outlook for Africa is generally grim, she notes some African countries are doing much better than others.

"If we just take child mortality, under five mortality, we have seen some enormous declines of over 40 percent in countries as diverse as Eritrea, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Niger and Namibia.  Several of these countries faced enormous challenges in the 1990s including civil conflict," she said.  

Abou-Zahr says progress for some interventions are better than others.  For example, she says there is fairly good coverage almost everywhere in areas such as anti-natal care and immunization.

But she notes results are not as good in areas where a functioning health-care system is needed, such as skilled care during delivery or treatment for pneumonia or diarrhea.  

"What really epitomizes this need for increased access to health system interventions is the fact that about 40 percent of deaths in children under five years old occur in the newborn period, that very critical time within the first few days and weeks of birth," she said.  "And addressing that challenge of newborn mortality is also the same kind of challenge as addressing maternal mortality," said Abou-Zahr.

The report says improving newborn care in the first month of life is essential for reducing child deaths in developing countries.  It notes maternal health remains the Millennium Development Goals target for which progress has been most disappointing.  Nearly half a million women are estimated to die in childbirth each year.

The report says infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death in Africa and remains a major problem in India.  But outside Africa, it says non-communicable diseases, such as tobacco use, alcohol and obesity are the leading cause of death.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid