Decline in maternal, infant mortality a major global health achievement

The most significant triumph in global health in the past decade has been the steep decline in maternal and infant mortality, said Jennifer Leaning of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in a Q&A in Now@NEJM, a blog for physicians on the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) website.

Leaning, director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at HSPH, also said that, in the coming decade, several areas of global health warrant increased attention and awareness, including the health impacts of climate change and of lifestyle-related diseases.

Leaning noted that “many of the illnesses and conditions that we used to think afflicted only people from very poor regions of the world are now part of our own ecosystem” in the U.S. “One does not have to go overseas to practice global health,” she said.

Leaning co-wrote a November 7, 2013 article, “Natural Disasters, Armed Conflict, and Public Health” for NEJM’s Global Health review article series.