MILLENIUMS DEVELOPMENT GOALS . WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. Target 1C. Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger A family sharing rice together
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Globally, there is evidence of improvements in children's nutritional status. The percentage of underweight children is estimated to have declined from 25% in 1990 to 16% in 2011. Stunting in children under five years of age has decreased globally from 40% to 26% over the same period. In Asia, the number of stunted children is estimated to have halved between 1990 (189 million) and 2011 (96 million). However, in Africa the number of stunted children is projected to increase from 46 million in 1990 to 56 million in 2011. Despite these overall gains, around 101 million of children under five were estimated to be underweight in 2011.
Girls' education is critically linked to self-determination, improved health, social and economic status as well as positive health outcomes for the mother and the child. Yet, girls still account for 55% of the out-of-school population.
Maternal deaths and pregnancy-related conditions cannot be eliminated without the empowerment of women. Maternal mortality is the number one cause of death for adolescents 15–19 years old and in many countries, sexual and reproductive health services tend to focus exclusively on married women and ignore the needs of adolescents and unmarried women.
Empowerment of women, including ensuring access to health information and control of resources such as money, is important for achieving gender equality and health equity. However, the ratio of female-to-male earned income is well below parity in all countries for which data are available.
Up to one in three women worldwide will experience violence at some point in her life, which can lead to unwanted pregnancy and abortion, among other things.
6.9 million children under five died in 2011. Almost 75% of all child deaths are attributable to just six conditions: neonatal causes, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, and HIV/AIDS. The aim is to further cut child mortality by two thirds by 2015 from the 1990 level.
Reaching the MDG on reducing child mortality will require universal coverage with key effective, affordable interventions: care for newborns and their mothers; infant and young child feeding; vaccines; prevention and case management of pneumonia, diarrhea, and sepsis; malaria control; and prevention and care of HIV/AIDS. In countries with high mortality, these interventions could reduce the number of deaths by more than half.
Target 5.B. Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
Globally, an estimated 287 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth in 2010, a decline of 47% from levels in 1990. Most of them died because they had no access to skilled routine and emergency care. Since 1990, some countries in Asia and Northern Africa have more than halved maternal mortality.
There has also been progress in sub-Saharan Africa. But here, unlike in the developed world where a woman's life time risk of dying during or following pregnancy is 1 in 3800, the risk of maternal death is very high at 1 in 39. Increasing numbers of women are now seeking care during childbirth in health facilities and therefore it is important to ensure that quality of care provided is optimal.
Globally, over 10% of all women do not have access to or are not using an effective method of contraception. It is estimated that satisfying the unmet need for family planning alone could cut the number of maternal deaths by almost a third.
The UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health aims to prevent 33 million unwanted pregnancies between 2011 and 2015 and to save the lives of women who are at risk of dying of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including unsafe abortion.
Target 6B. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.
HIV prevention in Africa
At the end of 2011, 34.2 million people were living with HIV. That same year, some 2.5 million people became newly infected, and 1.7 million died of AIDS, including 230 000 children. More than 8 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2011. More than two-thirds of new HIV infections are in sub-Saharan Africa