India, China hold key to world meeting MDGs: UN

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Hyderabad, Aug 13 (UNI) India and China hold the key to the world meeting the targets of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), UN Representative to Andhra Pradesh Michael Saint said today.

Making a presentation to the State Legislative Sub-committee on Women, Children and Disabled Welfare, he said unless India brings about major improvements in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, gender equality and child protection, global effort to achieve the MDGs would fail.

China too has to make significant strides to regain early progress it made in child survival, he added.

In 2008, 2.5 million child deaths occurred in these two countries, accounting for nearly a third of all such deaths, he said.

He exhorted the legislators to take a lead role in achieving the MDGs in their constituencies.

Referring to Andhra Pradesh, he said infant mortality rate had declined slowly in the state and stood at 53 per 1000 live births.

Though immunisation had picked up in the last two years, the coverage was still an issue, he said referring to the re-emergence of polio cases in the state.

Unless discrimination against women and girls was addressed as part of overall strategies to improve child and maternal health, high rates of maternal and child mortality would remain stubbornly entrenched, he pointed out.

Referring to HIV/AIDS, he said though general increase in awareness helped to check the spread of HIV, greater effort was required for the care and stigmatisation of HIV positive people.

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