Women, kids still neglected

An extra R79billion in funding is needed each year to make a big dent in child and maternal mortality.

An extra R79billion in funding is needed each year to make a big dent in child and maternal mortality.

This according to an international expert report, released yesterday, which shows that women and children in developing countries still die in inordinately large numbers.

The Countdown to 2015: Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival report for 2008 shows that of the 68 countries that account for nearly all maternal and child deaths worldwide, 50 had made little or no progress in saving the lives of women and children since 1990.

Child mortality had actually increased in 12 African countries, including some of the wealthiest such as SA and Botswana.

This has happened "mostly as a result of the HIV-Aids epidemics and conflict".

More than 10million women, children and newborns die each year from diseases that are largely preventable and treatable. Half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the continent accounting for only about 11percent of the world population.

The report blames weak, underfunded health systems for critical gaps in the "continuum of care" for mothers and children, including a lack of emergency care for babies and children, and a shortage of skilled healthcare workers.

While many countries had made progress in the prevention of killer diseases such as measles and malaria through immunisation and the mass distribution of anti-malaria bed nets and vitamin tablets, access to treatment for the sick is still inadequate. - Sapa-dpa

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