Last week, world leaders gathered in New York City to discuss a variety of global issues including the future of global health and the progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In a joint statement – released by the WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs – health and development leaders called for an acceleration of efforts to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadline.
Since 2000, the MDGs have set the international development agenda and placed a high priority on achieving development and global health objectives, leading to remarkable gains in a number of key target areas. While the goals addressed development on the whole, three in particular focused on health and well being. A report published by the Guardian last week tracked the successes and failures of these goals to date, in particular, referencing three key health goals:
As we look to the statement from the UN, it is important to keep in mind that though remarkable progress has been made, there is still a lot that must be achieved in a very short amount of time.
The document strikes a tempered and cautious approach regarding funding levels moving forward with a pressing and urgent demand for action. While it reads very positively overall, calling for critical steps like the expansion of community health workers, family planning roll outs, and ART distribution, it is important the global health community not become complacent in the push for more international funding. Last week, the U.S. committed $1.15 billion to reach MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015 – and other countries and multilaterals have committed funds at unprecedented levels over the past year.
Although the document indicates that we are on the right path, that does not mean the global health community should relent in its pursuit of these goals. These critical health interventions require significant investments of resources, time and the dedication of experts and governments around the world. We stand at an important moment in history – two years out from a deadline that has the potential to mark incredible progress in these goals. In order to reach them, however, we need to set aggressive targets – both financially and programmatically. Much more will be needed to live up to our commitments. A lot can be achieved in two years.
This post was written by Olivia Noble, Associate at the Global Health Council