• : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/sites/all/modules/links/links_related.module on line 190.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/sites/all/modules/links/links_related.module on line 428.
  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/theme.inc on line 170.
  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/theme.inc on line 170.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/sites/all/modules/links/links.inc on line 1085.
  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_tagadelic_display() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/sites/endpoverty2015.org/modules/views/views.module on line 537.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/endpoverty/endpoverty.somepulp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
Latest News

Achieving the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) — to improve maternal health and meet the associated targets to reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio and ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015 — remains perhaps the greatest development challenge.

The primary determinant of maternal mortality is how well national health systems function, in ensuring that every woman can be delivered by a skilled birth attendant (a nurse or doctor with midwifery skills), backed by ready access to emergency obstetric care when needed. This requires an effective functioning health service, reliable supply chains for medicines and equipment, communications and transport system.

Unfortunately, the goals have not been enough to accord mothers and children the political and economic priority they need. Halfway to 2015, many countries are making progress, but very few are moving fast enough to be on track to meet either goal. Unless efforts are stepped up radically, the fourth and fifth goals are destined to join “Health for All by 2000”, “3 by 5”, and all the other ambitious, time-bound global health targets that have not been met. This is not to say that world leaders were wrong to make a commitment to meet the two goals.

The reasons are partly complex because they involve political, social and economic issues as well as non-health sectors such as those responsible for water, sanitation, nutrition, education, power, communications, transport and infrastructure. That said, all analyses agree, the single most important factor standing in the way of Uganda achieving MDG 5 is the state of its health services.

In fact, all global health programmes and initiatives — not only those related to maternal and child health — have done as much as they can within existing health services.

The limiting factor for achieving more now is the weakness of the health systems. But strengthening health systems is not their core competency, nor should it be. A situation where the major international agencies, bilateral donors and global health initiatives separately work out strategies to strengthen the national health systems and begin to implement them should be avoided. A new approach is required, one that through a common approach and in a measurable way assists countries to improve health services.

According to estimates of the UN Millennium Project, in order to achieve the MDGs, the required additional public expenditures for a typical low-income country with an average per capita income of $300 could amount to 10–20% of its gross national product.

If these figures are accurate, it would be difficult for countries like Uganda to finance the required additional spending through increased taxation or domestic borrowing.

Many donor countries have made explicit commitments and pledge, to “scale up” aid over the medium term, to reach the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income. However, these pledges are not forthcoming, adequately to fill the financial gap, to make significant progress towards meeting the MDGs.

According to the Global Health Watch, Developed nations give $10b annually in aid to the health sector in developing countries. This is roughly the same as the amount spent on ice cream in Europe every year and equivalent to about 10% of England’s national health service budget.

This financial support is significantly low, to cause any substantial progress in developing countries towards meeting MDG 5 by 2015. And yet strengthening national health systems is an urgent global priority. It is the way to realise the basic human right to health and wellbeing, to spur economic growth and to improve security. The question is how to do it?

The writer is a global health expert and researcher in
preclinical medicine