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Women and child health gets funding

24th September 2010

The United Nations says progress has been slower on women and children's healthcare under the millennium development goals (MDG) than on some of the other goals.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a three-day MDG summit that women and children's healthcare would receive funding of US$40 billion from various agencies, institutions and individuals.

But he did not elaborate on how much of that funding was newly pledged, and how much of it formed part of existing programmes.

Ban told the meeting that the coming century must and will be different for every woman and child.

He said in a statement that women and children were critical to all of the MDGs.

Investing in their health was the right thing to do, and would build stable, peaceful and productive societies, Ban said.

He said the money would be aimed at saving the lives of 16 million women and children over the next five years.

Funds for the plan have been pledged by governments and private aid groups, although it was unclear how much of the money had actually arrived at the point of use.

Around 140 world leaders are meeting in New York this week to discuss progress towards achieving the MDGs, which include: the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education, gender equality and the empowerment of women, reduction in child mortality and better maternal health; and progress in the fight against infectious killer diseases like malaria.

Adopted 10 years ago, the goals aim to lift millions out of poverty, and improve healthcare for the world's poorest people.

Aid agencies said it was unclear where the money would be coming from, however.

Oxfam spokeswoman Emma Seery said the pledge could be the repackaging of a series of existing government commitments.

If that were the case, Ban's announcement would not do much to help the world's poorest people, she said.


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