"Spending on maternal and child health has stalled, according to an expert analysis, raising concerns that efforts to cut deaths in poor countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may falter," the Guardian reports. According to a report (.pdf) from the Countdown to 2015 Group published in the Lancet, there has been "a downturn in the total amount of overseas development aid earmarked for these goals between 2009 and 2010 -- the latest year for which there is data," the newspaper notes. "Over the period that Countdown has been tracking, funding for maternal and child health has more than doubled, from $2,566 million in 2003, to $6,480 million in 2010," but after years of steady increases, the latest data show a slight decrease of 0.5 percent, or $32 million, in funding, the Guardian states.
"Looking at the 74 countries that Countdown prioritizes as needing the most help, there is not a drop, but a slight increase, of 2.9 percent, in funding," the newspaper writes, adding, "But that contrasts with increases of 16 percent and 20 percent in 2009 and 2008, respectively." Report co-author Anne Mills of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, "This paper demonstrates the critical importance of monitoring flows of money to help ensure that donors deliver on their promises. If funding flows decrease, services will suffer and mortality increase," according to the Guardian (Boseley, 9/20).