Improving Global Health is key to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals. Healthy, educated and empowered citizens are more likely to produce healthy children, and to do so when it suits them. And this will ultimately be of benefit to all society.
In 2010 we are 2/3 of the way towards the 2015 MDG deadline. But if investment and other development assistance efforts are maintained at current levels, the health MDGs will not be achieved on time. MDG5 is the most off-track of all the goals, where no significant progress has been made since 1990. But prioritizing Reproductive Health is key to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals.
With more than one billion people around the world still lacking even the most basic healthcare, world leaders’ references to the right to health remain largely rhetorical. Health inequalities are still prominent both between countries and within countries, since the burden of care for the sick falls disproportionately on poor households and women.
Illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, HIV AIDS and malnutrition are the major causes of general poor health, with lack of safe water and inadequate sanitation being important contributing factors. The main cause of mortality in developing countries is a structural lack of strong and well-functioning health systems, which require long-term financing. Basic, cost-effective measures would prevent the majority of these deaths: vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplements, insecticide-treated bed nets and improved breastfeeding practices. But these measures also require the empowerment of women and young people, with a particular focus in those who are marginalised, vulnerable and hard to reach.
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized health as a human right. The right to health is not solely the right to be healthy but should be understood as the capacity to control one’s health and body and to benefit from a non-discriminatory system of health protection.
Position Paper on Improving Maternal Health
- Countdown 2015 Europe, IPPF EN & Action for Global Health