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

Study recommends inmate immunity test

21 hours ago

(AP)—Federal experts are recommending that California test inmates for immunity to a sometimes fatal soil-borne fungus before incarcerating them at two Central Valley state prisons where the disease has killed nearly three ...

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

Jul 25, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly ...

Time out for exercise

Jul 25, 2014

University of Queensland researcher has found that restructuring our daily routine to include exercise can have unexpected effects on health.

User comments