Health in United Nations: Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Declaration, sets out an historic commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and improve the health of the world’s poorest people by 2015. The Declaration and the resulting internationally agreed targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) place health squarely at the centre of the international development agenda and champion it as a key driver of economic progress.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 191 UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000 commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.
Health is represented in three of the eight MDGs and makes an acknowledged contribution to the achievement of all the others, in particular those related to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, education and gender equality. Goal 8, which calls for a global partnership for development, is a unique feature of the MDGs, because it recognizes that there are certain actions that rich countries must take if poor countries are to achieve all the other Goals. MDG 8 is a reminder that global security and prosperity depend on a more equitable world for all.
The Goals related with health are the next:
-Millennium Development Goal 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The target called “1.C.” as part of this goal is halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
-Millennium Development Goal 4: reduce child mortality. In this goal the target 4.A. tries to reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
-Millennium Development Goal 5: improve maternal health. At this point the target 5.A wants to reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio and target 5.B. achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
-Millennium Development Goal 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. As part of this Goal the Target 6A. Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, also the target 6B. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it. And finally the target 6C. tries to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
-Millennium Development Goal 7: ensure environmental sustainability. Target 7C: By 2015, halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
-Millennium Development Goal 8: develop a global partnership for development. Target 8E. In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries
For example working in theses goals the world has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, well in advance of the MDG 2015 deadline, according to a report issued today by UNICEF and WHO. Between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells.
The report, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, says at the end of 2010 89% of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources. This is one per cent more than the 88% MDG target. The report estimates that by 2015 92% of the global population will have access to improved drinking water.
“Today we recognize a great achievement for the people of the world. This is one of the first MDG targets to be met. The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions of the poorest people”
said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
But that victory could not yet be declared as at least 11% of the world’s population – 783 million people – are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions without sanitation facilities.
In 2007, the global burden of under-five mortality has fallen for the first time below 10 million deaths and is now estimated at 9.7 million per year. Increased coverage of interventions, such as exclusive breastfeeding, measles vaccinations, vitamin A supplements and insecticide-treated bed nets, have contributed to this decline.
In 2005, it was estimated that seven high-burden countries—Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal and the Philippines—were on track to achieve the MDG 4 target of reducing child mortality, and the number of countries is increasing. Recent surveys have shown a steady mortality decline in other countries, for example, in Madagascar, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. In addition, 6 of 11 African countries heavily affected by HIV reported a decline of 25 per cent or more in HIV prevalence among the 15- to 24-year-olds in capital cities. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of people on antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries increased from 240,000 to approximately 2.1 million.
About improve maternal health we have to say that despite a significant reduction in the number of maternal deaths – from an estimated 543 000 in 1990 to 287 000 in 2010 – the rate of decline is just over half that needed to achieve the MDG target of a three quarters reduction in the mortality ratio between 1990 and 2015. The proportion of births attended by skilled personnel – crucial for reducing perinatal, neonatal and maternal deaths – is above 90% in three of the six WHO regions. However, increased coverage is needed in certain regions, such as the WHO African Region where the figure remains less than 50%.
To get these goals Increases in the amount of aid are necessary, but more effective aid is also required if progress towards the MDGs is to be sustained. The need for greater harmonization between donors, and for stronger alignment around national policies and plans, is repeatedly being voiced by countries. The reality on the ground is complex, with several initiatives and partnerships, many of which have their own mandate, priorities and administrative processes. Additionally, about 20 per cent of overall health aid is given as general budget or sector support, while as much as 50 per cent is off-budget. Making the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness a reality on the ground is critical if resources for health are to be deployed and used effectively. Also the Mechanisms that are transparent and inclusive need to be created to hold all partners accountable for their performance against international agreements. The importance of mutual accountability and responsibility has been emphasized in several new initiatives focusing on the MDGs, such as the International Health Partnership in which Governments and development partners define country-level compacts that represent a close-to-binding commitment by all, and provide a framework for monitoring performance.
The international community shares a strong commitment to reaching the health-related MDGs. Several newly launched health initiatives by major donors and development agencies acknowledge the explicit need to invest in the health systems and better coordinate development assistance, and to introduce a framework of mutual accountability that recognizes the need for country-owned and country-led initiatives.
In another hand As the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approaches, there is wide debate as to what development goals the global community should set next. The United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon has appointed a High-level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015. The Panel will deliver a report to the 2013 September General Assembly. In support of this process, the United Nations Development Group is leading efforts to catalyse a “global conversation” on the post-2015 agenda through a series of global thematic consultations and more than 50 national consultations.
The Governments of Sweden and Botswana, UNICEF and WHO co-convene the health thematic consultation.
The UN’s global consultation on health will take place between October 2012 and February 2013. It will include a web-based consultation; the development of a series of background papers (both on lessons learned from the current MDGs as well as future directions); and a series of consultative meetings with Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector partners and academic and research institutions.
The process will culminate in a high-level meeting on March 5-6 in Botswana, involving governments, NGO coalitions, key UN partners and members of the UNSG’s High-Level Panel. It will seek to incorporate ideas and lessons from other regional and country consultations, thereby building a powerful consensus around key issues and recommendations on health to feed into the inter-governmental process that will start later in 2013.
An informal Member State Consultation on Health in the Post 2015 Development Agenda, was held in the WHO Executive Board Room in Geneva on December 14, 2012. The meeting’s discussions focused on the first four of the five questions that are being used to guide the health thematic consultation. This report provides a summary of the interventions made by the Member State representatives.
This article was published on April7th: World Health Day in Global Education Magazine