fx1“More women and their children are surviving today than ever before.” This statement from UNICEF last week was indisputably true. Impressively detailed reports from the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation and the UN Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group described “tremendous progress…over the past two decades”. 12·5 million children under-5 died in 1990. That figure fell to 5·3 million in 2018. Put another way, there were 34 000 child deaths each day in 1990 and 15 000 deaths per day in 2018. 47% of all under-5 deaths are in the newborn period—the first 28 days of life, a time when risk of death is highest. There were 2·5 million newborn deaths in 2018, half the figure of 1990. Meanwhile, 295 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth in 2017, 35% fewer than in 2000 (451 000 deaths). Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, was quoted as saying, “In countries that provide everyone with safe, affordable, high-quality health services, women and babies survive and thrive. This is the power of universal health coverage.” But this rather triumphalist story of success has a more sombre dimension, one that is deliberately silenced by multilateral institutions under persistent populist attack…..more