In 2000, in a unique global declaration, world’s leaders, including European countries, committed to reach a set of eight clear and measurable goals. The so called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to end extreme poverty, reduce discrimination and halt disease in the developing world by 2015. In response to the unavoidable intersection between poverty and lack of health, most of the targets agreed in 2000 are partially related to health and three goals in particular were created to expressly address the main elements of the health crisis in the developing world.
The so called health MDGs are number 4, 5 and 6. MDG 4 aims to reduce infant mortality by two-thirds by 2015. MDG 5 calls for increased efforts to improve maternal health, especially to reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio and achieve universal access to reproductive health. MDG 6 aims to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases.
Yet these three MDGs still remain alarmingly off-track...
What we call for:
While the world’s 48 most vulnerable nations continue to make in-roads into poverty reduction, a far greater effort is needed if these countries are to eradicate extreme poverty by 2020. We call for the adoption of a concrete and measurable plan to support developing countries in the post-2015 agenda, and to allocate all the necessary financial resources to implement it. A rights-based health goal in the Post-2015 framework is key to sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Although much progress has been made on the MDGs, the international community must make available, with no further delay, full financial resources to respond to the health needs of the world poorest countries; prioritising the development of strong health systems with a well resourced health workforce; and ensuring fair access to comprehensive primary health care to the poorest and most marginalised populations.
Achieving further progress on the health MDGs will require the underlying shortfalls of weak health systems; inadequate financing of the health sector in developing countries, and inequitable access to health services to be addressed. This means taking urgent action to deliver universal access to primary health care, including preventative services and will require a rapid scaling up of efforts to address the weaknesses in health service delivery caused by huge shortages of human resources, drug stock-outs and inadequate funding, alongside more concerted efforts to remove the social, cultural and financial barriers that prevent many people in low and middle-income countries from accessing the healthcare that they need.