Calls for greater focus on women’s rights and access to health, better health systems to save the lives of those under 5 years, and fears over growing populations in African countries marked the week. As the G20 meets, many call for a stronger resolve for funding and focus on “development” efforts in the face of financial crises, while others call for cuts to foreign aid.
In his keynote address at the mHealth Summit, Bill Gates noted that, “The key thing, the most important fact that people should know and make sure other people know: As you save children under 5, that is the thing that reduces population growth. That sounds paradoxal. The fact is that within a decade of improving health outcomes, parents decide to have less children.” Gates hopes that there will one day be a international registry of births facilitated by the ubiquity of mobile phones. Along with recording births with mobile phones, Gates sees the potential for a vaccine database to ensure that all newborns are vaccinated thus increasing their chances to live past age 5.
Issue Analyst, Brittany Griffin, answers the question of her post with a critique of Nicholas Kristof’s call for more access to contraceptives in African countries. She makes an effort to ask why some women in Africa have as many as 5-6 children, highlighting economic reasons as well as the impact of diseases. She nots that if we are to address population issues, then we need to address overall inequalities around the world.
The Gauteng Province of South Africa reported that interventions implemented by the Department of Health and Social Development has yielded positive results with declining mortality rates for both mothers and infants. ”The reduction in maternal deaths indicates that the department is making encouraging progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals target of 100 deaths per 100 000 live births,” said the department’s MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.