WHO links child mortality to economic crisis

The World Health Organisation warned on Saturday that only a stronger political commitment to child health could prevent a dangerous rise in mortality rates at a time of global economic turmoil.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan told the opening of a event in the Uzbek capital Tashkent that had reached their lowest levels in more than a generation in the past decade.

"During the previous decade, the number of under-five deaths dropped well below 10 million (per year) for the first time in almost six decades and kept on dropping," Chan said.

"The figure now standing at 7.6 million deaths worldwide."

The biggest maternal mortality rate declines were reported in East Asia and North America, where they reached around 60 percent, she said.

But Chan warned that even the world's richer nations had recorded no recent improvements and called a recent spike in food prices a worrying sign.

"Historically these intentions, expressions and concerns have not been met by the highest level of political commitments" at a time of , Chan said.

She noted that her Central Asian host country of Uzbekistan "enjoys the highest level of political commitments" to child care issues since its 1991 independence from Moscow.

"This country has well functioning immunisation campaign with excellent and sensitive surveillance. This is the absolutely critical asset when protecting the health of children," Chan said.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov promised at the event's opening to commit a "further $1.5 billion... in the coming years" to maternal and child healthcare issues.

International have criticized Uzbekistan's recent family planning programme for allegedly including the forced sterilization of women.

The Uzbek health ministry has repeatedly denied the charge.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WHO cuts global estimate for maternal deaths

Sep 15, 2010

(AP) -- The World Health Organization said Wednesday that fewer women die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth than previously estimated, but efforts to sharply cut maternal mortality by 2015 are ...

Race to save mothers, children set to fall short

Sep 20, 2011

A global campaign to save new mothers and children under five in developing nations has made strong gains but is set to fall well shy of UN goals, according to a study released Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Length of emergency room stay for trauma patients is shorter with the use of electronic health records, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

User comments