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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MDG-progress-of-Romania

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Romania (Europe and the CIS)

Romania underwent radical economic reforms in the 1990s that finally unlocked the process of growth, while firmly preparing the state for full European Union (EU) membership in 2007. This marked the fall of the totalitarian communist regime, setting the scene for stable and sustainable development for years to come.

This south-eastern country in the European region has attained and made irreversible progress on the millennium development goals, reinforced largely by the experience of EU accession and the programmatic and fiscal instruments made available to Romania via this political, social, and economic convergence. In the period between 2000 and 2008, Romania’s GDP grew from $40 billion to $204 billion (the highest ever). Since then, it has been fluctuating with a low of $164 billion in 2009 and a high of $199 billion.

MDG progress of Romania

According to the most recent report of MDG progress of Romania, the strategic objective of European integration has contributed considerably to the country’s attainment of most of the MDG targets. Furthermore, the element of modernisation instilled by the EU accession progress has allowed the country to move forward and assume targets that bear a higher value added for its own citizens. (more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Belize

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Belize (Latin America and the Caribbean)

The Millennium Development Goals provided Belize with a basis on which to track and measure its development progress. The country’s strategies have been clear, deliberate, and consistent, resulting in considerable advancement towards most of the MDG goals compared to the rest of the region.

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – off target

None of the targets under MDG1 were achieved, since instead of trending downwards, poverty and indigence increased from 2002.

Between 2002 and 2009, the proportion of Belize population below $1.25 per day increased from 33.5 to 41.3 percent (15.8 percent of whom are classified as extremely poor). The target for halving the poverty gap ratio was also not achieved, and only negligible change was recorded within the same period, from 10.9 in 2002 to 10.8 in 2009.

The growth of GDP per worker has trended downward since 2000, and was at 3.12 percent at the end of 2007. However, the downward trend changed and increased to 4.7 percent in 2012 following increased efficiency in the use of labour coupled with a shift in the type of productive activities in the economy after Belize became a petroleum exporter in 2005. (more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Tonga

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Tonga (Asia Pacific)

Tonga joined the UN in 1999, and signed up for the MDGs in 2000 together with another 188 nations. Tonga comprises 172 islands with a land area of 747 square kilometres, and a total land/ocean surface area of around 720,000 square kilometres. The country has a population of 103,252 according to the 2011 census, with 73 percent living in the largest island, Tongatapu. 34 percent of this lives in the capital, Nuku’alofa, as well as the peri-urban areas. The other four major island groups that are inhabited are: Vava’u at 15 percent; Ha’apai at 7 percent’ ‘Eua at 5 percent; and Niuas at 1 percent.

Since the inception of the MDGs, the kingdom of Tonga has completed three assessment reports, with the final one being released in September 2015. The following is a look at the targets and achievements of Tonga in regard to the millennium development goals:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

This is the biggest challenge for many Pacific island countries, where progress is constrained by low economic growth and a lack of job opportunities. The global financial crisis further retarded progress, while income inequalities persist across all countries – especially urban and rural areas. (more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Rwanda

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Rwanda (Africa)

The Millennium Development Goals in Rwanda have been translated into the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies (EDPRS I & II) that provide the framework for the budget allocation of vital sectors and activities observed to ensure that the MDG targets are met. The priority sectors are also reflected in the national framework – Vision 2020 – that specifies the country’s long-term development goals.

Currently, Rwanda is among the few African countries leading in the achievement of the MDGs. The Central/Eastern Africa nation has made remarkable progress on several MDGs, especially in gender equality women empowerment, universal primary education, child and maternal mortality, HIV prevalence, and environmental sustainability.

Many measures have been taken in efforts to bridge gender gaps through economic empowerment programmes for women, including women entrepreneurship program, women guarantee fund, and having rights to property and inheritance. The constitution has also been changed to guarantee 30 percent leadership positions in parliament for women. (more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Lebanon

Fact sheet on current MDG progress of Lebanon (Arab States)

The Republic of Lebanon is a small country with an estimated population of 4.97 million in 2014, plus an additional 260,000 Palestinians and other migrant workers. 44 percent of the population is young (below 24 years), and around 88 percent live in cities – the main ones being Beirut (capital), Saida, Tripoli, Zahleh, Jounieh, and Sour.

Lebanon is a medium-income, free-market economy with extensive links up with the developed world in most economic activities. The private sector contributed to over 80 percent of the GDP, and includes manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and trade and tourism, but is predominated by the services sector such as media and advertising, hotels and restaurants, and banking and finance.

MDG Facts

The most recent Lebanon MDG report is for the period 2013-2014. According to this report, any progress made towards achieving the MDGs has been significantly challenged by a complex political situation (absence of a government Cabinet for 8 months at the time of writing, and later absence of a president of the republic) and the Syrian crisis, marked by a massive influx of refugees that is particularly affecting the health MDGs. (more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Latin-America-and-the-Caribbean-in-2015

MDG Progress Report of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015

The Latin America and the Caribbean region has made positive progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, albeit with differences among nations associated mostly with the progressive appropriation of the goals in each country, as well as adaptation to specific circumstances. However, there was a moment of stagnation and even reversal of some positive trends, during the economic crisis, making it harder to achieve the MDG targets.
(more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Europe-and-the-CIS-in-2015

MDG Progress Report of Europe and the CIS in 2015

The pan-European region is highly diverse, and includes the high income economies of Western Europe, which are also key Official Development Assistance (ODA) donors; middle-income emerging donors from Central Europe, which have joined the European Union; and a group of 18 ODA eligible nations, half of which are classified as landlocked developing countries with a few being low-income nations and having similar characteristics to the least developed countries.
(more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Asia-and-the-Pacific-in-2015

MDG Progress Report of Asia and the Pacific in 2015

With some of the world’s most dynamic economies, and more than half of the global population, Asia and the Pacific region has helped drive the world towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs have made a significant contribution to the growth of Asia-Pacific by helping to direct attention and resources towards common objectives, which has, in turn, spurred action and achievement on a wide range of vital issues. Across the region, governments acknowledge the value of having a clear set of goals, and many have incorporated the MDGs framework into their national development planning.
(more…)

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MDG-progress-of-Africa-in-2015

MDG Progress Report of Africa in 2015

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) era has seen significant transformation in the African development context. The prospects of Africa in 2015 are noticeably different from what they were in 2000: many African economies have grown at rates rivalling those of East Asia, averaging 6 percent in 2013 (with the exception of South Africa). If current growth trajectories continue, it will be possible for three out of every five African countries to become middle income by 2015.

The growth of Africa has been largely driven by natural resources, as well as its vibrant services sector, increased exports, rising private investment, and improved agricultural production. African leaders often depict the continent as a land of opportunity.
(more…)

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