As the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (a set of eight goals aimed at eradicating poverty) comes to a close, one thing is apparent. The health-related development goals are in the most danger of not being met by the 2015 deadline.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stressed the importance of the revamped push towards maternal health and reduction of child mortality rates. Throughout the summit, UN officials, world leaders and other speakers emphasized the progress made since the Millennium Declaration in 2000, rather than the shortcomings. Out of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), improving maternal health and reducing child mortality rates are the two goals lagging behind (and account for two out of the three health-related MDGs.)
United Nations Development Programme, 2000
Ban Ki-Moon declared the start of a $40 Billion Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health on the the last day of the summit. The project will involve several international health agencies and expects to reach 15 million women and children. Ki-Moon explained the importance of women’s and children’s health saying, “Investing in women’s and children’s health has a multiplier effect across the millennium development goals.” Queen Rania of Jordan emphasized that the shortcoming are an institutional problem, not an individual problem. The influential queen said, “These women are working hard…But their time is not efficient.” According to the U.N., improvement of women’s and children’s health is possible by 2015. 
The multi-billion dollar global strategy includes projects throughout the world in countries like Afghanistan and several African countries. The Nigerian, Liberian and Rwandan governments have pledged to spend more money on women’s health by increasing training of midwives. In Afghanistan, the government plans to increase access to contraceptives for women in need. In addition, Planned Parenthood will redouble their efforts in 173 different countries.
Although these efforts are admirable and additional attention to health related MDGs have proven necessary, is it possible to achieve thus far unmet needs by the 2015 deadline? And why are women’s and children’s health the most neglected of the MDGs? The United Nations has already been criticized for making too lofty a program without effective strategy. Only time will tell whether the United Nations, and the rest of the international community will actually make the effort to give more for women’s and children’s health.
Oloruntoba, Bunmi. “Women and Children the Focus of Achieving the MDGs.” AllAfrica.com.
24 September 2010.
 Ward, Olivia. “$40 Billion promised at UN for maternal, child health.” TheStar.com. 22 September 2010.
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