Millennium Development Goal

Women Are Heroes

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The power of the photograph and film is evident here.
From this year’s TED Prize winner, JR.
Engaging, emotional, inspiring.
Watch it now.

The 10 City Bridge Run aims to influence child mortality through a creative process of inquiry. This is a human challenge- child mortality. Money and aid are important, as is institutional involvement. I believe that ultimately what the collective global citizenry do matters most.

Together, we can influencing the outcome of Millennium Development Goal 4 by building a bridge to the G20. The G20 has the political will to make global change happen very quickly, if it chooses to do so. But to do so requires effort and participation from us.

Help us to build the bridge. Thanks for the inspiration JR!

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Winning the war against child mortality

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The foundation's logo

The Loveable and Avuncular Hans Rosling returns to give another outstanding TED Talk about how we are winning the war against child mortality.

Hans is a brilliant communicator and makes the complex simple. This 15 minute is worth watch to move beyond theory and understand how progress has been made.

21 Days To Go: 8 MDG. MDG 7- Environmental Sustainability

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The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...
Our home

Working toward the start of the G20 Summit in Seoul when I will set of with the first steps of the 10 City Bridge Run. 240 km ahead of me across 10 cities in 10 countries within the space of one month.

Previously on this blog I looked at Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1 through 6, and then made a summary of what looks to be a massive deficit in achieving this seemingly impossible objective. Can it be done, and does it matter?

I was fortunate to attend a City of Sydney presentation on the MDG last week which gave good insights to understanding the MDG in perspective which I made mention of in this blog post.

Continuing this list of MDG, today I turn to MDG 7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability. This is one MDG which is not looking like being addressed successfully. It covers many broad areas that are affected by bigger sustainability issues.

This MDG has four targets:

  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
  3. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
  4. By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Here are comments from the United Nations on progress and challenges:

  • The rate of deforestation shows signs of decreasing, but is still alarmingly high
  • A decisive response to climate change is urgently needed
  • The world has missed the 2010 target for biodiversity conservation, with potentially grave consequences
  • Key habitats for threatened species are not being adequately protected
  • The number of species facing extinction is growing by the day, especially in developing countries
  • Overexploitation of global fisheries has stabilized, but steep challenges remain to ensure their sustainability
  • Safe water supply remains a challenge in many parts of the world
  • With half the population of developing regions without sanitation, the 2015 target appears to be out of reach
  • Disparities in urban and rural sanitation coverage remain daunting
  • Improvements in sanitation are bypassing the poor
  • Slum improvements, though considerable, are failing to keep pace with the growing ranks of the urban poor
  • Slum prevalence remains high in sub-Saharan Africa and increases in countries affected by conflict

Is it just me, or does it astound you too due to the following statistics. How can it be that in our world of technology, convenience and accessible luxury that this should be the case? Go figure! Next time you get delayed standing waiting for your skim-soy-decaf-latte, count yourself lucky and enjoy the privilege of knowing at the end of the queue is anything you care to order:

  • 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.
  • The world has missed the 2010 target for biodiversity conservation. Based on current trends, the loss of species will continue throughout this century.
  • Slum improvements are failing to keep pace with the growing number of urban poor. The absolute number of slum dwellers keeps rising.

 

A Different Perspective

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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis an...
The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Yesterday I posted a blog titled: Did the Government Let Us Down? where I questioned claims that had been made that not enough had been given by own government toward the Global Fund which contributes towards the eradication of diseases: in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB.

I was asking: how much money is ‘enough’?

Outcomes from the United Nations Donor Meeting held on 4-5 October sparked this discussion. The meeting announced that US$11.7 billion had been pledged in new funding over the next three years to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This in fact represents the largest-ever pledge for the collective effort to fight the three pandemics and will allow the Global Fund to further support countries as they work to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) related to health.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented in a more positive manner from the earlier claims which promoted my blog yesterday. He said:

At a time when so many Governments are tightening their belts at home, these commitments send a powerful message: It shows how seriously world leaders want to do the right thing beyond their borders, too.

What can we make of this? Two different claims, with the United Nations Secretary-General applauding this initiative. The esteemed members of the MDG Advocacy Group have shown support for what they describe as “the ample replenishment of the Global Fund”. The MDG Advocacy Group summarised it like this:

We can recommend no better and more timely investment on the planet to support the Millennium Development Goals.

That sounds like a call-to-action to build bridges with all the time we have available between now and 2015. 21 days to go before I start running (no more false starts!). Please step up and do what you can to influence extreme poverty. You might support this initiative with a $24 sponsorship, or from the time I commence running submit a photograph of a human bridge to be presented as a pictorial petition.

Any other ideas worth sharing? Let’s hear them!

Half the world’s population is at risk of malaria (3 Days to Go) : 8 MDG.

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Today with three days to go, the focus is on Millennium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Disease. The United Nations has set three targets for this Millennium Development Goal:

  • Halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
  • Halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

One of the Outcomes for the 10 City Bridge Run is to invest $24,000 in anti-malaria technology through the distribution of 10,000 mosquito nets. The ability to create leverage in order to achieve this will only come with the participation of sponsorship. Only with sponsorship is it possible to achieve the 10 City Bridge Run.

Remarks from the UN are sobering and need no further explanation. This is a serious and tragic situation through the prevalence of these infectious diseases.

  • Every day over 7,400 people are infected with HIV and 5,500 die from AIDS- related illnesses. HIV remains the leading cause of death among reproductive-age women worldwide.
  • An estimated 33.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008, two thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Access to HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries increased ten-fold over a span of just five years.
  • Malaria kills a child in the world every 45 seconds. Close to 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where it accounts for a fifth of childhood mortality.
  • 1.8 million people died from tuberculosis in 2008, about 500,000 of whom were HIV-positive.

 

 

 

Benjamin

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Matt with Benjamin

 

This morning I met Benjamin for the first time. He is less than 20 days old and the son of good friends Dave and Janet. Everyone is happy and healthy. Benjamin is a beautiful baby.

Dave is a doctor, and I took some time to ask him about how things in his life have changed since the arrival of Benjamin. We also talked about the distinction between how wonderful medical care is in Australia, compared with what might be expected in what is referred to as a ‘developing country’.

How fortunate we are to experience almost very low child mortality and excellent maternal health. Dave was explaining how easy and cheap it would be to save so many life through simple interventions relating to hydration and hygiene. Simple things we take so much for granted that we don’t even think twice.

During the week a friend related a story where apparently in parts of Sudan the prevalence of child mortality was so high that new born babies are not given names.

I am thankful for Dave and Janet that things are different for Benjamin. How long will it be before child mortality and maternal health become taken for granted by almost everyone on earth?

Four Days to Go! 8 MDG: MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health

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Merlin maternal health clinic in Afghanistan
Merlin maternal health clinic in Afghanistan

AT only 15 days old, Louis Paul Coutts-Trotter carries the weight of a nation. He’s the son of ALP Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek. Welcome to a wonderful world Louis!

  • More than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, almost all of them — 99 per cent — in developing countries.
  • The maternal mortality rate is declining only slowly, even though the vast majority of deaths are avoidable.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, a woman’s maternal mortality risk is 1 in 30, compared to 1 in 5,600 in developed regions.
  • Every year, more than 1 million children are left motherless. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.

Today with only four days until the punishing task of running 10 sub-marathons across the globe inside of 30 days we turn to look at the fifth Millennium Development Goal- Improving Maternal Health.

The United Nations (UN) has two targets to meet this goal:

  • Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
  • Achieve universal access to reproductive health

So, what does the UN have to say about progress? Here are some comments directly from the UN:

  • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
  • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
  • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  • More women are receiving antenatal care
  • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
  • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
  • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
  • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
  • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed
  • Use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education
  • Inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health

Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking. That is a strong choice of words from the UN. That is a concern.

Maternal mortality is declining, but more needs to be done. This report from the UN gives a good visual description of where the gap lies through use of comparative graphs. Take a look.

Don’t we all wish that every child and mother could enjoy the health and opportunity like Louis and Tanya.

(Please play Six Bridges of Separation- forward this to someone you know and see how long it takes to get to Tanya Plibersek. I’ll send out a blog once I hear back from her to let you know how long it took! Are we really that connected?!)