G7 must act to prevent deaths, help most vulnerable children - charities

by Katie Nguyen | Katie_Nguyen1 | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 5 June 2015 14:00 GMT

A girl holds a stuffed toy while sitting on a broken wall near her family house at a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, February 6, 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

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Survival of 17,000 children and 800 mothers at stake every day

LONDON, June 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The survival of 17,000 children and 800 mothers is at stake every day unless the world's top industrialised nations, set to meet in Germany, muster the political will and money to end preventable maternal and infant deaths, a global charity said.

Save the Children said although the world had halved the number of preventable child deaths since 1990, an estimated 6.3 million under-fives and 289,000 women still die from preventable diseases and complications from childbirth every year.

It issued the statement ahead of a summit of the Group of Seven world powers in Germany on June 7-8 which is expected to discuss issues ranging from European Union sanctions on Russia to tax evasion.

Many aid agencies are using the meeting to lobby the G7 leaders for resources in a critical year for development with new international development goals covering the next 15 years due to be adopted by the United Nations in September.

"We have the end of preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 within sight," said Save the Children health expert Julia Schilling in a statement.

"But it is critical for G7 leaders to make ambitious political and financial commitments this year to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths for good."

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are aimed at tackling poverty, ending hunger, promoting healthy lives and addressing climate change among other issues.

World Vision, another global children's charity, said many children living in conflict zones and politically unstable states where education and healthcare systems had broken down missed out on the success of the MDGs.

The same children would be forgotten again unless the G7 made it a priority to help the world's most vulnerable in hotspots like Syria and Central African Republic, it said.

"Those children are still being left behind (in terms of development). What we need to make sure is that new SDGs ... address those children more, (the ones) who are a lot more difficult to reach," World Vision's Geeta Bandi-Phillips said.

"It will cost a lot more money. The intention (of the SDGs) is to go to help those children in the most difficult circumstances in fragile states .... but those (goals) need active political commitments and resources," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Reporting by Katie Nguyen, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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