MDG5: Improve maternal health
Overall, maternal mortality second to pregnancy has decreased the world over. However but not quite enough to make the MDG target. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia remain problem areas, and although South Asia has made good progress, Sub-Saharan Africa is stalling behind. This is likely because Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of births with skilled attendances, highest numbers of adolescent pregnancies and lowest rates of contraceptive use, as detailed in the rest of this section. Improvements all round, particularly in South Asia, but Sun-Saharan Africa is lagging behind. Also, aid funding for family planning overall has significantly decreased – something we should all be concerned about.
Target: Reaching towards, but unlikely to be met overall.
MDG6: Combat HIV, Malaria and other diseases
Here’s Sub-Saharan Africa success story – finally the HIV incidence is being rolled back! This deserves a graph…
Problems remain in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, but this reduction is testament to the power of the global health community. This is nicely supported by increases in the proportion of people having a good understanding of how the virus is spread. However, now we have such a large population of HIV+ people, we need to do better at ensuring the have access to ARV therapy, which remains problematic. The target is for ‘universal coverage’, defined as >80%, Between 08 and 09 an extra 1.2million people were receiving ARV in Low and Middle Income countries, which suggests it’s possible to extend coverage significantly. Yet by the end of 2009 there were 14,6 million people who needed ARV therapy and could not access it.
Doing well with Malaria as well – 20% reduction in deaths! Significant increase in use of nets to prevent transmission, and more people are receiving treatment if infected. TB incidence is also falling, and the TB target is likely to be reached! Largely thanks to the DOTS/Stop TB partnership: 41 million treated and counting, including 6 million lives saved.
Shame that “other diseases” are missed out. Someone should tell the UN that guinea worm is soon to be eradicated, and Polio is well on its way out. Fortunately the international community is now beginning to notice NCDs and mental health…
MDG7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Pretty depressing overall. Deforestation is rampant, especially in South America and Africa, although China has increased its forest coverage. The data from 2008 on CO2 emissions shows emissions increasing at a rapid rate, led by the massively expanding economies in Asia. We’re also losing the battle against biodiversity loss and species extinction.
Somewhat incongruously access to water and sanitation is included here as well. Storming towards the targets – improving water supplies continues to be a great success. However sanitation is problematic, with 2.6 billion people unable to access a flush toilet.
The population of slum dwelling urban poor is expanding faster than interventions to improve their lives, however in this section is the only mention of a post MDG agenda: “In April 2011, the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme encouraged countries to enumerate their slum populations, and to set realistic national, regional and local targets for improving the lives of slum dwellers. These could extend beyond the current MDG target, which has a deadline of 2020.” This will definitely be worth watching.
MDG8: Develop a global partnership for development
Aid has increased, but not as much as world leaders had promised. There Is very little comment on how effectively this aid has been used.
Fortunately protectionist economic policies were averted during the economic crisis, which is definitely an international success. Tariffs remain problematic, and exports fell, affecting some poor countries ability to continue to service their debt.
Internet and mobile phone use (in particular) have exploded in the developing world, although internet penetration is not yet as good. This provides significant opportunities to harness this new connectivity.
Although data collection for all of these things remains problematic, this is a brief rundown of the progress towards the MDGs as of 2011. The focus of this report is definitely on speeding up progress towards 2015, with little mention on what happens afterwards. So I guess that’s up to us. Over to you…