Nav: Home

The Millennium Development Goals are failing the poorest children

April 27, 2009

The UN Millennium Development Goals, a blueprint for development agreed to by all the world's countries and leading development institutions, includes the goal of reducing the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. While this goal is laudable, says a team of public health researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine, this reduction could still leave the children of the poor worse off.

The problem arises, say Daniel Reidpath (Centre for Public Health Research, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK) and colleagues, because the child mortality goal (Millennium Development Goal 4) is presented in terms of the raw, average under-five mortality for a country. "While this makes for simple reporting," they say, "the figure masks distributional information about which parts of society contribute most (or least) to the magnitude of that rate. In other words, the measure is equity-blind, unable to distinguish between a fair and an unfair social distribution of the burden of under-five mortality."

Reidpath and colleagues argue that a country could achieve the goal of reducing the average under-5 mortality by two thirds by 2015 (an apparent "success"), but fail to address the ongoing problem of high under-five child mortality amongst the country's most vulnerable groups. Such a failure, they say, would violate the spirit of the Millennium Declaration (http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm) that the world's leaders have agreed upon, which states:

"We recognize that, in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world's people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs."

The focus on the average or raw under-five mortality rate in Millennium Development Goal 4, say Reidpath and colleagues, without regard to the social distribution of the burden of under-five mortality, "will likely result in resource allocation being driven by expedience and lead to an increasing inequity."
-end-
Funding: No specific funding supported the production of this article.

Citation: Reidpath DD, Morel CM, Mecaskey JW, Allotey P (2009) The Millennium Development Goals Fail Poor Children: The Case for Equity-Adjusted Measures. PLoS Med 6(4): e1000062. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000062

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000062

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-06-04-reidpath.pdf

CONTACT:
Daniel Reidpath
Brunel University
Centre for Public Health Research
Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom
+44 7835167476
dreidpath@gmail.com

PLOS

Related Mortality Articles:

Addressing causes of mortality in Zambia
Despite the fact that people in sub-Saharan Africa are now living longer than they did two decades ago, their average life expectancy remains below that of the rest of the world population.
Examining the link between caste and under-five mortality in India
In India, children that belong to disadvantaged castes face a much higher likelihood of not living past their fifth birthday than their counterparts in non-deprived castes.
Mortality rates rising for Gens X and Y too
Declining life expectancies in the US include Gen X and Y Americans, in addition to the older Baby Boomers.
Trust in others predicts mortality in the United States
Do you trust other people? It may prolong your life.
Breast cancer screening does not reduce mortality
Fewer and fewer women die from breast cancer in recent years but, surprisingly, the decline is just as large in the age groups that are not screened.
More Mortality News and Mortality Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...