The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are goals the United Nations and its global partners established in 2000. There are eight goals focused on addressing worldwide social issues including poverty, health, hunger, inequality, education, environment, and sustainability with the target to make measurable improvements in all these areas by 2015.
Earlier this month, UNICEF released a report outlining trends and progress towards MDG 4, which is to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. The report highlights work being done to meet this MDG, as well as challenges and disparities that have slowed progress.
One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that Ethiopia has already achieved MDG 4 despite facing major obstacles such as a severe shortage of health professionals (there is only one doctor for every 36,000 people). The driving forces behind this achievement included strong commitment from the Ethiopian government, support from external organizations, and the use of innovative programs to reach communities throughout the country. Ethiopia joins Bangladesh, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Timor-Leste, and United Republic of Tanzania as another high-mortality country that reached MDG 4 before 2015.
This news is quite timely considering the 68th session of the UN General Assembly opened last week with a focus on defining a post-2015 development agenda. As 2015 approaches, I am eager to see increased analysis of MDG progress and heightened discussions among members of the international development community about what’s next for global health. Stay tuned!