How Far Has The UN Come in Terms of Global Health

How Far Has The UN Come in Terms of Global Health

The United Nations, through the WHO, on December 8, 2015 released a publication of its progress and achievements in its health agenda since the formulation of the MDGs.

The publication, dubbed “Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs”’ gives a statistical outline and analysis of the UN’s course over the 15 years of the Millennium Agenda and gives an insight of what the new SDG on health is all about and similarities and differences with its correspondent MDG. Basically, it gives data on key health issues such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease with respect to MDGs and SDGs.

How Healthy Is the World Now?

During a press briefing, WHO’s director of information evidence, Ties Boerma, tagged 2015 a “special year” to the UN and the entire global community as it marks the transition from MDGs, which were formulated with all focus on the developing nations, to the SDGs, which are “for all countries, not just developing countries, and for all people of all ages.”

He noted the UN’s great progress in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa, and a staggering 53% reduction in child mortality since formulation of the MDGs, and thanked the international community for its “unending” support.

The publication, as cited by Boerma, puts the success in health down to a number of factors: firstly, a funding trend, which was on a swift rise during the first few years of the program before reaching and stagnating at a satisfactory $35 billion. Secondly, combined effort among different programs such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to combat Malaria Tuberculosis and AIDS. Lastly, new preventive and curative medicines as well as treatment methods.

Developing Nations’ Health Neglected?

As highlighted by the report, developing nations, which were the main targets for the health MDG are still lagging behind the rest thanks to retarded technological advancements in these countries and a generally unconducive environment for the execution of some targets.

And that’s where SDG 3 on health comes in. The report notes that the UN’s plan over the next 15 years is to use this goal, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, to ensure there is equitable improvement on health across all nations, regardless of their statuses.

“Failure to complete the Doha Round,” suggests the report, “and the increase in mega-regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and European Union–United States agreements, could strengthen intellectual property protection in ways that could undermine access to medical products.”

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