News Release

Children and mothers are dying because those with power to act are failing to

Peer-Reviewed Publication

The Lancet_DELETED

A call to reduce maternal and child mortality rates is made by The Lancet Editor Dr Richard Horton in his Comment which opens this week’s Countdown Special Edition of The Lancet.

Dr Horton praises the evolution of the Countdown process from its creation in 2003 through its rapid evolution “into a scientific and social movement to prevent the needless deaths of millions of mothers and children.” He says: “At the half-way stage towards the Millennium Development Goals, Countdown symbolises a model for collaboration, evaluation, and action that has valuable lessons for many other domains in public health.”

He discusses the deliberate and significant choice of Cape Town, South Africa for the Countdown Conference from April 17-19, which will help highlight the plight of various countries in sub-Saharan Africa which have seen increased rather than decreased under-5 mortality rates. He says: “It signals the determination of all Countdown partners to do more to mobilise political commitment and financing for maternal, newborn, child, and reproductive health across the continent.”

Describing the overall progress towards the MDGs as ‘strikingly inadequate’, Dr Horton concludes: “Children and mothers are dying because those who have the power to prevent their deaths choose not to act. This indifference – by politicians, policy makers, donors, research funders, and civil society – is a betrayal of our collective hope for a stronger and more just society, one that values every life no matter how young or hidden from public view that life might be... we should not accept this pervasive disrespect for human life. We have a voice, a platform, and a constituency that should be an instrument for radical change. Let that voice be heard in Cape Town.”

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