Politics of public health funding

News article today:

Fewer women dying in childbirth: Report finds 35 percent decline over 28 years

Remember, this is worldwide, not in the US.

On the one hand:

The British medical journal Lancet rushed out a paper on Sunday that found the number of women who die in pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by more than 35 percent over 28 years.

On the other hand:

But on Tuesday, another report by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, a global alliance hosted by the World Health Organization, claimed progress in maternal health has “lagged.” According to their “detailed analysis,” from 350,000 to 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year. The authors did not explain where their data came from or what kind of analysis was used to obtain that wide range of figures.

Enter politics and funding:

“Experts say public health figures need to be taken with a huge grain of salt, particularly when they come from people who are also soliciting funds for the campaign.

The U.N. has a track record of inflating disease figures to keep the aid money flowing, so I’d probably place more faith in the figures which show a lower disease burden,” said Philip Stevens, of International Policy Network, a London think tank. “This is yet more confirmation that whoever paints the most apocalyptic picture gets the most cash, even if they have to manipulate and spin the data.”

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