Action for Global Health advocates for the implementation of common principles and basic measures that will improve health policies and enable universal access to health care in developing countries as a way to eradicate poverty and promote human rights. We see in European governments and the European Commission a clear responsibility to promote the right to health in developing countries. In particular, we frame our calls around UN commitments that are still to be met by our governments.
Health as a Human Right is set by the International Covention in human rights, more than 60 years ago. The goal for governments to provide every individual basic health care (primary health care) was set as a global standard already in 1978 at Alma Atta, with a goal set for the year 2000. The HIV/AIDS epidemic of the late 20th century pushed back the expected progress. In 2000, 189 countries renewed their commitment and signed the Millennium Declaration, to eradicate poverty and to make the right to development of world’s poorest countries a reality.
The so called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with a target date of 2015, represent a global partnership promoting poverty reduction, food security, gender equality, education, maternal health and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases.
Three out of eight of these goals focus specifically on health:
- Goal 4: to reduce by two-thirds the infant death rate
- Goal 5: to reduce by three-quarters deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth
- Goal 6: to reverse the spread of communicable diseases, such as HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria
Six of the eight goals and eight of the eighteen targets are directly health related.
Action for Global Health believes that the MDGs are inseparable. Success in meeting the health MDGs, and realizing the right to health, will only be achieved if these anti-poverty goals are addressed in a comprehensive way. This requires building strong systems for comprehensive and primary health care and addressing the social determinants of health through actions across all sectors, including gender inequity.
As we get closer to 2015 discussions on what type of future development framework will replace the MDGs is building pace. AfGH is taking a leading role in convening organisations across Europe to feed into these discussions. We believe it is essential that any framework for development should include commitments for Financing for Health as well as the Right to health.
In campaigning for the acknowledgement of the Right to health, it is important for policy makers to appreciate the need for greater equity. We see Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a key mechanism, for ensuring this is realized.