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10 Million Missing Daughters

According to a study reported in the medical journal The Lancet and summarized in an article on, approximately 10 million female fetuses may have been selectively aborted following ultrasound results in India during the past twenty years:

Their study of 1.1 million households across India reveals that in 1997, far fewer girls were born to couples if their preceding child or children were also female. "There was about a 30% gap in second females following the birth of any earlier females," Jha told New Scientist. When the firstborn child was a daughter, the sex ratio for second children among the 134,000 births in 1997 was just 759 girls for every 1000 boys. For a third child, just 719 girls were born per 1000 boys, if both the older children were girls. However, if the eldest children were boys, the sex ratios for the second and third child were about 50-50. Based "on conservative assumptions" the gap in births equates to about 0.5 million missing female births a year, says the team. Assuming the practice has been common in the two decades since ultrasound became widely available, this adds up to 10 million missing girls... India's patriarchal society, daughters are regarded as a "liability", as she will belong to the family of her future husband...A surprising finding was that the disparity was about twice as large in educated mothers, those with at least an Indian grade 10 education, than in illiterate women. "Most things in health are worse among the poor,"...the preference for boys is likely to have "profound long-term consequences". In China, the cultural preference for boys and restrictions on family size are already having effects. Some reports suggest there are 40 million bachelors unable to find brides.

Extreme Poverty

A primer on poverty from Ask Yahoo!

According to NetAid, over a billion people, or roughly one in six, live in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than US$1 a day. The World Bank goes on to define moderate poverty as basic subsistence living, on $1 to $2 a day. All told, nearly half the world's population lives in poverty -- that's 2.8 billion people living on less than two dollars a day. Some other facts to keep in mind:

  • Each year over 8 million people die because they are simply too poor to stay alive.
  • More than 800 million people go hungry every day.
  • The gross domestic product of the poorest 48 nations is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people.
  • Thirty-thousand children die every day due to hunger and treatable illnesses.
  • 6 million children die every year before their fifth birthday, as a result of malnutrition.

You can find detailed poverty assessments of specific geographical regions on the World Bank's PovertyNet. And if you're interested in learning how the World Bank comes up with its poverty statistics, take a look at PovcalNet. The goal of the Millennium Campaign is to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015. And the aim of the One Campaign is to direct an additional 1 percent of the United States budget towards eradicating global poverty.

African childbirth deaths

This requires action.

It's old news, but I was shocked when I read it recently.  African women are 175 times more likely to die in childbirth than women from western nations and have a 1 in 16 chance of dying in childbirth.  Since many women deliver alone or with unskilled attendants, so better access to skilled health care workers and emergency care are required.

Chance of death in childbirth and pregnancy:

  • Sierra Leone, Afghanistan: one in six
  • Angola, Malawi, Niger: one in seven
  • Nepal: one in 24
  • Pakistan: one in 31
  • India: one in 48
  • Malaysia: one in 660
  • China: one in 830
  • US: one in 2,500
  • South Korea: one in 2,800
  • Britain: one in 3,300
  • Japan: one in 6,000
  • Sweden: one in 29,800


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