Addressing Urban Environmental Health and Maternal Mortality in Developing Countries
Although climate change is a global phenomenon, developing countries – especially urban centers – are the most vulnerable to the negative health impacts of climate change. In “Urban Governance of Climate Change and Health,” a working paper for the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, author Siri Bjerkreim Hellevik reviews the existing literature on governments’ responses to climate change and health in developing urban centers. Overall, Hellevik concludes that there is a substantial need for more research specifically linking the two. She offers several recommendations for urban policymakers to consider, including developing an integrated and multi-level approach, and recognizing that human health and urban development are issues of global justice.
Maternal mortalities are avoidable deaths, and the persistence of high maternal mortality rates reveals the cultural and socioeconomic inequalities between genders, write Mabel Bianco and Susanna Moore in “Maternal Mortality: An Indicator of Intersecting Inequalities” for the Foundation for the Education and Study of Women. Bianco and Moore present an overview of the current progress and limitations of policy and programs working to achieve Millennium Development Goal Five by 2015 (reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio). They note that disparities in gender equality contribute to maternal mortality through factors such as unmet contraceptive needs, high adolescent birth rates, limited access to schooling, and barriers to economic participation. While the slow progress in reducing global maternal mortality is “unacceptable,” they also stress the importance of developing comprehensive programs and policy strategies that integrate the other MDGs, in particular goal three (promoting gender equality) and six (combating HIV/AIDS).