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Buried among the 169 targets contained in the Sustainable Development Goals – adopted by the United Nations last September amid a blaze of glitzy events, celebrity endorsements and back-slapping by world leaders, aid donors and non-governmental organizations – was the vital pledge to eliminate "preventable child deaths" by 2030 .Aid for child and maternal health has grown dramatically since 2000, and now stands at some $12 billion annually.Almost half of all child deaths occur in the neonatal period (the first 28 days) – and the share is rising.If progress continues at its current rate, there will still be some 3.6 million such deaths per year by 2030 .Nearly all women from the richest 20 percent of households enjoy prenatal care and skilled attendants at delivery; coverage rates for the poorest are less than 10 percent – worse than in much of sub-Saharan Africa.Forcing desperately poor women to pay for maternal and child health care is a prescription for inequality, inefficiency, and child deaths.Developing-country governments should be spending at least 5 percent of GDP on health, eliminating charges on child and maternal health care and ensuring that financial resources – and health workers – are allocated in a way that reduces inequalities in care.
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