THE FOURTH GOAL: REDUCING DEATH
By: Gerald F. Witherspoon, Sr.
The fourth goal of the United Nations’ Millennium Project is reducing child mortality. This goal is accompanied by a target of reducing by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate (Millennium Project 2006). Pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea are amongst the top killers and neonatal complications account for approximately 44% (7% rise since 1990) of all deaths of those under age five. These deaths occur in proportionately higher rates in countries with lower national income. In addition, some countries have achieved reductions of over 50% between 1996 and 2006 while others have made little to no progress or worsened (Lykens, Singh, Ndukwe, and Bae 2009). Sub-Saharan Africa is amongst the poorest performers while claiming 50% of all child deaths globally (MDGs 2009).
Simplicity, Multiplicity, and Urgency
UNICEF adamantly expresses the solution to the fourth goal as one that is known, existing, high-impact, low-cost with a proven track record of saving millions of lives (UNICEF 2013). In fact, these solutions may be more affordable now than ever before in history. Likewise, the financial resources needed to address the issues are well under the amounts already agreed upon by international members. Still yet, there are many factors that contribute to reduction in child mortality rates. Two in particular are education and healthcare. There is evidence that secondary or higher education can reduce the risk of child mortality by more than 50% (UNESCO 2013). In regards to healthcare, measles vaccinations have prevented several million deaths ( United Nations 2013). The World Health Organization stresses the importance of treating newborn complications in a timely manner, maternal health, and feeding habits as effective strategies to combat under-five mortality rates (World Health Organization 2013). These strategies offer hope considering how majority of child deaths occur within the first month of life. Nevertheless, in a conclusive estimate provided by UNICEF, the fourth goal will not be met until 2028 based on current trends. To that note, failure to meet the goal by 2015 will result in the death of 35 million children who will die from preventable causes (UNICEF 2013).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank are just a few international organizations that have worked together to develop action proposals to steer progress toward attaining the goal. Success in any area has the potential to positively affect the potential for success in other areas as nearly all areas are interwoven. For instance, reduction in poverty and hunger can increase access to education and healthcare which can improve environmental conditions and encourage a decrease in fatal diseases and reduce child mortality. If the under-five mortality reduction goal is reached by 2015, approximately 35 million lives will be saved which can increase the pool of individuals able to contribute to the international economy. This will help organizations like IMF, OECD, and the World Bank achieve mutual goals of international economic cooperation. Then, global partnerships will increase and millions more will be able to experience freedom making the world vision of peace more practical and attainable. A reasonable sequitur from the above analysis is that a lack of international cooperation translates to loss of international opportunities, and more importantly, millions of lives.
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MDGs: Crisis Impact and Outlook. Washington: 2009, http://search.proquest.com/docview/89136992?accountid=8289.
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UNESCO. Education. 2013. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-all/education-and-the-mdgs/goal-4/ (accessed October 5, 2013).
UNICEF. “Publications.” UNICEF. September 13, 2013. http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_70354.html (accessed October 13, 2013).
United Nations. Millenium Goals. 2013. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/childhealth.shtml (accessed October 5, 2013).
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