Thursday, 28 October 2010
Millennium Development Goals: Child Mortality
I rise to share with the House a birthday party that I attended on 1 August. It was at the Lakes Baptist Church in Gorokan, and it was a Survive Past Five birthday party. The whole of the church community was at that birthday party. It was a celebration of the fact that, in this country, our children do survive past five, but in many developing countries very few children do. It raised the issue of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly goal 4, but at the same time acknowledged the importance of millennium development goal 5 to achieving this outcome.
On this birthday card—and I have over 200 birthday cards that I will seek to table at the conclusion of my contribution to the debate—it highlights that every child around the world should be able to enjoy its fifth birthday and points out that 9.2 million children under five die each year, 22 per cent of these children from diarrhoea and 21 per cent from pneumonia—diseases that are preventable. Millennium development goal 4 aims to reduce child mortality by two-thirds from 1990 levels by 2015. In the card, it says: ‘It saddens me that 18 of the 29 developing countries in our region are not on target to achieve that.’ I must say that it saddens me also. With only five years to go, globally we are less than halfway to achieving this target. Evidence suggests that proven and cost-effective interventions can reduce child death by 60 per cent. The card thanks the government for increasing aid to health to one dollar in every four, but it points out that eventually the signatory would like to see that become one dollar in every two.
Last year I went with the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing to PNG. I saw firsthand how Australian aid money was being used to improve the health of children living in the treaty villages there and throughout that area in PNG. I support the sentiments expressed in these cards I have before me today. I thank the Baptist Church in Gorokan for being so concerned about children not only in their local church area but throughout the world, and I seek to table these birthday cards and have them included in the proceedings of the House.