Maternal Health Task Force

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World Bank and IMF Report on MDG Progress

The World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the “Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs” late last week, reflecting on the likelihood of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

Two-thirds of developing countries are on target or close to being on target for all the MDGs. Among developing countries that are falling short, half are close to becoming on track; with improved policies and faster growth, these countries could still achieve the targets in 2015 or soon after. Yet even those middle-income countries on track to achieve the MDGs are home to indigenous and socially excluded groups that are still very poor and often well behind in reaching the goals. Moreover, progress could stall without stronger global growth, expanded access to export markets for developing countries, and adequate assistance from donors.

The report notes that MDG 5, which addresses maternal health, is the least on track. However, as we discussed on GlobalMama last week (free registration required), there is a lot more complexity in the numbers and simply discussing a country as being on- or off-track to meet the MDGs does not tell the whole story. The WB-IMF report delves into this complexity and the diversity of progress between and within countries. For example, it notes that based on their numbers, 30 countries are on target to achieve MDG 5 and another 46 countries are “close to target,” meaning that over 60% of developing countries are on track or close to on track to achieve MDG 5, and “[i]ndigenous people in on-track middle-income countries are also being left behind.”

According to Delfin Go, an economist at the World Bank and the lead author of the Global Monitoring Report, there are four major takeaways from the report:

[1] There is great diversity in the country performance…[2] Countries with slower growth and poorer institutions are farthest behind…[3] Impact evaluations often show that the quantity of services has increased, but not the quality…[and 4] Progress could still break down.

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