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Child, Maternal Mortality Not Improving in Poorest Nations

Some progress made but huge gaps remain

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some positive signs, progress towards meeting Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality in the world's poorest countries is inadequate, according to the Countdown report and other articles in a special edition of The Lancet published April 12.

The Countdown to 2015, an international coalition that implements and tracks the progress of interventions critical to reducing maternal and child mortality worldwide, reports that only 16 of the 68 nations that have 97 percent of maternal and child deaths worldwide are on track to reach Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality.

There are some bright spots, however, as Honorati Masanja, Ph.D., of Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre in Tanzania, details in an article. In contrast to many African nations that have made little or no progress in reducing childhood mortality, Tanzania is on target to reach Millennium Development Goals, an improvement achieved by increases in government spending on health and implementation of key interventions, such as insecticide-treated netting to prevent malaria, immunization and exclusive breast-feeding.

The author of an editorial calls for collective action by society to reduce maternal and child mortality worldwide and applauds the work of the Countdown towards this end: "At the half-way stage towards the Millennium Development Goals, Countdown symbolizes a model for collaboration, evaluation, and action that has valuable lessons for many other domains in global health."

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Abstract - Countdown to 2015 Core Group
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Abstract - Masanja
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