“Let us be clear about the costs of missing this opportunity: millions of lives that could have been saved will be lost; many freedoms that could have been secured will be denied; and we shall inhabit a more dangerous and unstable world.” – Kofi A. Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
MDGs and the WHO
Tackling diseases and conditions which disproportionately affect the poor is fundamental to the World Health Organization’s work. Efforts to achieve the MDGs are a part of the WHO's core responsibilities. After consultations with all regions of the WHO in November 2004, the commitment of the organization to the MDGs was expressed to the Executive Board. This led to a resolution approved by the 58th World Health Assembly in May 2005.
Along with the World Bank, the WHO coordinates the High-Level Forum (HLF) on the Health MDGs , which was first held in 2003. Through the HLF, policy makers engage in dialogue to accelerate action on the health-related MDGs. During the past three meetings of the HLF, ministers and senior officials from developing countries, as well as heads of bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, and regional organizations discussed many topics. They include: the effectiveness of aid, MDG-oriented poverty reduction/sector strategies, monitoring performance/tracking resource flows, and human resources crisis in health. These meetings cemented the understanding of the centrality of the health MDGs in the quest to achieve all of the MDGs .
The recently released 2005 Health and the Millennium Development Goals Report, states, “…building-up and strengthening health systems is vital if more progress is to be made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Unless urgent investments are made in health systems, current rates of progress will not be sufficient to meet most of the Goals.”
MDGs in the Developing World:
A global comparison of MDG achievement would reveal that Africa's development is far behind the rest of the world. Unless substantial efforts are made by countries in the region and donor countries in the developed world, most will be unable to reach the goals of the Millennium Declaration by the target of 2015. The rest of the developing world shows improved levels of development when compared to Africa; however, large segments of their populations remain in conditions that require sustained efforts to reach the MDGs. After Africa, Asia and Latin America account for the majority of men and women living in extreme poverty and lacking proper access to adequate health care. In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in an equitable manner, developing countries must explore the information beyond the statistics. Without addressing their needs, countless human beings will continue to live in conditions of extreme poverty and structural neglect.