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Message: 1 Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:15:07 -0400
From: Robert Weissman <rob@essential.org>
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Subject: [stop-imf] WBank health policies endangering millions—Save the Children, others

Text of report at: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/scuk/jsp/resources/details.jsp?id=3D1518&= group=3Dresources&section=3Dnews&subsection=3Ddetails&pagelang=3Den
- or - go to www.savethechildren.org.uk and click on 80 million lives at risk

>From UN Wire.org:

Aid Groups Say World Bank Policies Could Harm 80 Million

From Save the Children Organization, 18 September 2003

A coalition of aid agencies say that more than 80 million mothers and children will die unnecessarily over the next dozen years unless misguided World Bank policies are changed and more money is made available in step with the Millennium Development Goals, Reuters reports today.

A report from the aid coalition Grow Up Free, which includes Save the Children, Tearfund, EveryChild, HelpAge International and the Catholic aid agency CAFOD, said the World Bank’s flawed health policies and a lack of financial commitment by national governments effectively scuttled chances of meeting the goals.

Over the next 12 years, more than 80 million children and mothers will die if we fail to meet these goals. The Grow Up coalition challenges all those with the responsibility and power to prevent these unnecessary deaths, said the head of public policy at CAFOD, George Gelber.

The coalition pointed to expected death tolls from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia, saying the number of anticipated deaths equaled the combined populations of Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Sudan.

The report says the World Bank’s health development model, Investing in Health, diverts scarce funds from broad-based primary health care to narrower projects focused on cost savings, with responsibility moved to the private sector.

The group urged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to focus on the issue during next week’s annual meetings in Dubai.

We stress that while we cannot make progress without more resources, at the same time we need a careful analysis of why policies have failed in the past and how we must implement new policies, Gelber said (Jeremy Lovell, Reuters, Sept. 18).

80 million lives at risk

date published: 18/09/2003

A new report out today shows that unless radical improvements in global healthcare are made in the next 12 years, an estimated 80 million children and mothers will die unnecessarily*. 80 million lives: Meeting the Millennium Development Goals in child and maternal survival, from the Grow Up Free from Poverty coalition, reveals that if child mortality rates continue at the same pace, the lives of millions of children will be lost every year from preventable illnesses like diarrhoea and pneumonia.

The report, to be launched at HM Treasury in the presence of the Secretary of State for International Development, Baroness Amos, and John Healey, Economic Secretary from HM Treasury, investigates progress towards meeting two of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015.

Worryingly it finds that, instead of meeting these targets, in many countries the decline in child and maternal mortality rates has actually stagnated or reversed, with some African countries needing another 150 years to achieve the goals at present rates.

The coalition, which includes Cafod, Tearfund and Save the Children, is calling on governments, policy makers and donors worldwide to take urgent steps to meet the international targets as they have promised. It is unacceptable that illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria remain the biggest killers in developing countries. With the right resources and policies most of these diseases are preventable, as we have seen in industrialised countries.

George Gelber, Chair of the Grow Up Coalition and Cafod’s Head of Public Policy said:

It is unacceptable that children continue to die from diseases that can so easily be prevented. Over the next 12 years, more than 80 million children and mothers will die [if we fail to meet these targets]—that’s roughly the equivalent of the population of the United Kingdom and New York combined**. The Grow Up coalition challenges all those with the responsibility and power to prevent these 80 million unnecessary deaths.

We support Gordon Brown’s call for doubling aid to tackle poverty with the International Finance Facility (IFF). But we stress that while we cannot make progress without more resources, at the same time we need a careful analysis of why policies have failed in the past, and how we must implement new policies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and healthcare for all.

As world leaders prepare to gather next week for World Bank and IMF meetings, experts from the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, DFID and civil society will be debating these issues and solutions at the launch event as part of the global dialogue towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

The report argues that failures in healthcare to date are the result not only of a lack of political will, but also of the imposition of healthcare policies that ignore the poor, and disadvantage women and children. It calls for a move towards a social model of healthcare, which is provided on the basis of need and equity for the poor of all ages. It also calls for developed countries to halt their recruitment drives of skilled health professionals from the developing world.

Co-author of the report, Regina Keith, Health Advisor for Save the Children said:

Most children in the developing world are suffering from illnesses that also affect children here in the UK. The difference is that in the developing world, many of these children will die. While the responsibility for reducing the rate of child mortality should be shared globally, making it a reality must be based on locally determined priorities and not a =91one-size fits all’ distribution of resources.

One of the speakers at the launch will be the Rev. Agnes Mukandoli, Mothers Union Representative from Rwanda, who said:

When a woman becomes pregnant she should be able to be happy and look forward to a new life coming into the world. But in my country, as in many others, the time of birth is associated with fear because so many mothers and babies die there from things that could be prevented. Their lives are not lost to complicated diseases—better basic healthcare, clean water and sanitation would make a big difference. It seems that no one notices women and children dying. Are we invisible? It feels that way to us. Every minute another woman dies for no good reason. Half a million each year. We look to the powerful countries and people to stop this waste of life.


In the UK, the Grow Up Free From Poverty coalition is a group of UK NGOs and faith groups: Action Aid, Bretton Woods Project, British Council Connect Youth International, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Christian Socialist Movement, Consortium for Street Children, Help Age International, Help the Aged, EveryChild, Justice, Art & Education, Methodist Church, Mothers’ Union, National Council of Hindu Temples, Plan International, Save the Children UK, SCIAF, Tearfund, United Reformed Church, Viva Network, World Vision.

*In 1990, at least 10.5 million children died every year at a rate of 93/1000. In 2001, 10 million children died at a rate of 81/1000. The MDG goal is a rate of 31/1000 that will mean 4.5 million children will die in 2015 (allowing for population increase). However, if the current rate of child mortality persists for the next 12 years, an estimated additional 80 million lives will be lost.

80 Million Lives is concerned about the Child and Maternal Health Millennium Development Goals. (MDG 4 to reduce the 1990 under-five mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015 and MDG 5 is to reduce the 1990 maternal morality rate by three-quarters by 2015). The report is informed by the work and experience of the coalition members and their partners throughout the world.

**The UK population is just under 60 million and the population of New York is 19 million. 80 million lives is also the equivalent to the combined population of Kenya (30m), Malawi (11m), Zambia (10m) and Sudan (31m), or the combined population of the UK (60m), Denmark (5m), Ireland (4m), Norway (4m), Finland (5m) and Latvia (2.2m).