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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More