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Role of United Nations

  • Date Submitted: 10/15/2011 09:44 AM
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1.1 Background
The United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration was signed by 189 countries in 2001 and was translated into eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for development and poverty eradication. Three of the eight MDGs (4, 5 and 6) are directly related to health, concerning child health, maternal health and disease control, respectively. The inclusion of health targets in the Millennium Development Goals supports the contention that good health is important for overcoming poverty and achieving the wider goal of socio-economic development (UN, 2007).

Achieving the MDGs has increasingly become the central focus of many multilateral and bilateral donor agencies. Although the developmental agenda emboldened in the MDGs address all countries of the world, there can be no doubt that sub-Saharan African countries (SSA) have the greatest problems and stand to benefit most from the promotion of its principles, as compared to other regions of the world. In comparison to the rest of the world, SSA countries have the highest rates of poverty and illiteracy, as well as the highest rates of child mortality, maternal mortality, HIIV/ AIDS and malaria (Okonofua, 2006).  
By December 31, 2010, ten out of the fifteen years for reaching the targets and indicators of the MDGs would have passed. A relevant question is whether SSA countries can meet the targets and monitoring indicators within the stipulated time-frame, and if so, whether such an achievement can be sustained? If results would be achieved in Africa, there should be positive signs during the first decade of the millennium to point to this direction. Africa as a whole is off- track to meeting the MDGs on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health (Singh, 2006; Simwaka et al, 2005; Stuckler, 2010; UN, 2010).
Slow progress in low-income countries cannot simply be explained by their public health MDG targets being more challenging. Reducing child mortality by two-thirds or maternal mortality by...

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