Monday, September 27, 2010

U.N. Pledges Funds to Lower Death-Rates of Women and Children

"The 21st century must be and will be different for every woman and every child." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

On a planet burdened by funding for the machines of war, a hopeful step toward funding for health was announced.

During the summit Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially "launched a $40 billion plan aimed at saving the lives of 16 million women and children over the next five years."

That 40 billion USD is a most welcome step forward. But we have to face the fact that it is a tiny fraction of the amount spent worldwide on destructive technology.

The world spends something like 30 to 40 times that amount, yearly, on armaments alone, and the cost of human support for those weapons is staggeringly more.

Around the world, major news agencies are hailing the new UN initiative.

AP said, "The issues of maternal and child mortality have been a particular focus of the summit, which reviewed efforts to implement anti-poverty goals adopted in 2000 – and found them lacking. Worldwide every year, an estimated 8 million children still die before reaching their 5th birthday, and about 350,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth."

U.N. News Centre reports, "The Global Strategy identifies the finance and policy changes needed, along with vital interventions to help improve health and save lives. It is expected to prevent, between 2011 and 2015, the deaths of more than 15 million children under five, as well as 33 million unwanted pregnancies and the deaths of 740,000 women from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth."

Reuters said, "The $40 billion "pledged by governments, foundations, businesses and non-governmental organizations … covers both domestic investment and aid to other countries. U.N. officials said nearly $27 billion was new money being announced by governments – indicating the rest had already been committed since plans for a global strategy for women's and children's health were first disclosed in April. Some $8.6 billion is coming from low-income countries."

And speaking for the USA, Secretary of State Clinton said, "You can count on the United States and the Obama administration for the success of this initiative."

So... congratulations to the UN health initiative for mothers and children!

Hopefully, in the years to come, more and more such initiatives might be enacted... (and perhaps the funds for human health might be one day even approach those for human destruction!)

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