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Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004 May.  p. (Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper; World Bank Report No. 69106)This paper argues for more nuance in the interpretation of progress towards the Nutrition Millennium Development Goal indicator (halving the prevalence of underweight children, under 5 years old, by 2015). Interpretation of a country's performance based on trends alone is ambiguous, and can lead to erroneous prioritization of countries in need of donor assistance. For instance, a country may halve the prevalence by 2015, but will still have unacceptable high malnutrition rates. This paper analyses which countries are showing satisfactory and unsatisfactory progress using the Annual Rate of Change (ARC), and then introduces the World Health Organization-classification of severity of malnutrition in the analysis to provide more nuance. It highlights that a little less than half of the Bank's client population is likely to halve underweight by 2015. Although the paper uses national data only, it flags the risks and recommends that countries take regional disparities into their needs-analysis. The paper also argues for more attention to the other important nutrition indicators, stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, which remain enormous problems, and briefly discusses solutions to reducing underweight malnutrition.
Lancet. 2007 Sep 22; 370(9592):1034.The association between domestic violence and the first five Millennium Development Goals is bidirectional. Violence has a negative effect on efforts to alleviate poverty (MDG 1), and poverty has been shown to increase the likelihood of violence. Similarly, education, women's empowerment, child mortality, and maternal health are all linked to domestic violence. Simwaka and colleagues discussed the association between women's empowerment and violence against women and poor access and control over resources, and recommended putting gender issues in the African agenda to achieve MDG 5. Hence, monitoring the progress in preventing violence should not be separated from monitoring the development process in developing countries. Other challenges such as discrimination, inequity, extremism, religious fanaticism, human rights violations, and the faded democracy process have hampered efforts to combat violence in these countries. Ammar stated that "Egypt would be able to combat public violence (eg, terrorism) better if it addresses co-occurrence of spousal and child abuse than by changing its school curriculum". Moreover, we will not be able to estimate properly the magnitude of domestic violence if its economic costs are not investigated. Therefore, the growing political will to take action against violence is not enough in itself, especially when women feel that spousal abuse is justified and when judges and lawyers are part of a culture that tolerates violence against women. (full text)
London, England, ActionAid International, . 27 p. (P1625/01/04)UNAIDS estimated that in Africa in 2003, more than 2.3 million people died from AIDS, 3 million were newly infected and a total of 12 million children were orphaned. Antiretroviral drugs are reaching a mere 50,000 of those with AIDS in developing countries. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is clearly a human and developmental disaster. This paper looks at the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis by the World Bank as a key member of the international donor/lending community, a leader in the international health community, and as Africa's principal development partner. In its seminal document, Intensifying Action Against HIV/AIDS, the World Bank acknowledges both its special leadership role in fighting HIV/AIDS and the need that it be held accountable for its stewardship. (excerpt)
Are cost effective interventions enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals? Money, infrastructure, and information are also vital [editorial]
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2005 Nov 12; 331(7525):1093-1094.At a high level forum in Paris this month policy makers are meeting to discuss the financial sustainability and coordination of activities essential for achieving the millennium development goals. Building on other targets set in the 1990s, such as those at the 1990 UN children’s summit, these ambitious goals agreed by 189 countries aim to markedly reduce poverty and hunger and improve education and health throughout the world by 2015. But many less developed countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, are falling short of the target to reduce child mortality by 4.4% a year, the rate required to cut deaths among children less than 5 years old by two thirds (from the 1990 level) by 2015. (excerpt)