Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Maternal Deaths Decreasing, But UN Wanted Information Withheld

It shouldn't be surprising in our current era--I guess--that even an entity such as the United Nations would ask for scientific information to be withheld until after that entity procures the billions of dollars in funding.

The good news was reported in the British medical Journal, The Lancet, which reveals that over the last 28 years, the number of women dying during childbirth has decreased by 35 percent.

This information was compiled and analyzed by Christopher Murray and colleagues at the Institute for Health Metrics at the University of Washington, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The information compiled was from 181 countries for the period 1980-2008 studying maternal mortality.

These conclusions were virtually refuted by a study published by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health which is a worldwide alliance hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Their study claims that progress "lagged" in maternal health, but study authors failed to reveal from where or how they received their data and conclusions. In the same report, the UN stated they will need $20 billion/year from 2011 to 2015 to save women and children in third world countries.

The UN had asked the University of Washington group to withhold publishing their study until September 2010; it was published in The Lancet April 10, 2010. Presumably, by September, the UN would have procured the funds it was seeking for maternal and child health. While a worthy cause, and likely still one that requires funding, no matter the numbers, it is tough to swallow that the UN's request was for anything but financial reasons.

But which study is the one to be believed? Using logic and rational thought, the study that reveals its data sources and method of analysis is the one which should receive scientific acknowledgment. Shame on the UN and WHO for publishing a study that offers no background proof for the conclusions that it reached.

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