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The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) are having a significant impact on reducing childhood deaths in the regions served by the program. Currently one in eight children dies before the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa – a rate that has been declining, but is still nearly 20 times higher than in developed nations.
MVP works to provide better public health services, clean water and sanitation, more reliable food production, better roads and schools and other services to rural villages across central Africa. Researchers who studied the impact of the program at Millennium Villages Project sites in nine countries found the mortality rate among children under age five dropped by 22 percent in just three years, according to a study published in the British medical journal Lancet.
Researchers also found that the rate of decline was even faster when compared to similar villages the group studied, and three times faster than the national trends for rural areas.
The authors of the study attribute these results to the effectiveness of a coordinated approach to sustainable development as practiced in the Millennium Village Project.
“These results demonstrate the feasibility of scaling up basic public health delivery in low-income settings,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. “With today’s technologies and good systems design, combined with modest amounts of donor assistance and partnerships with government and local communities, it is possible to achieve the health MDGs even in remote and impoverished villages with initially high burdens of disease."
Begun in 2005, MVP is currently focused on making the progress sustainable, in part by raising local incomes through improved agricultural practices and business development. New models and online tools will help replicate the program elsewhere, adapt it to other settings, and apply it to a larger population.
GreaterGood.org supports this program and other efforts by Millennium Promise through donations generated by the "Click Here To Give" button at The Hunger Site and the Gifts That Give More (tm) program.