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Millennium Development Goals - MDGs and the Americas

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MDGs and the Americas

In November 2003, a conference was organized in Brazil to promote political consensus around the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. The outcome of this meeting was the Brasilia Declaration, signed by heads of state, parliamentarians, senior officials, civil society, and the private sector. The declaration reinforced the partnership principle inherent in the MDGs and spelled out the responsibilities of governments, legislators, civil society, and the international community.

Evolution of the MDGs:

While the Americas seem to fare well in comparison with other Regions of the world, analyses have suggested that no country in the region is likely to reach all of the MDG targets. Indeed, some of the greatest challenges for the countries of the Americas lie within the health area, along with the reduction of poverty.

The region as a whole is on a good track for meeting the goal of reducing hunger, infant malnutrition and mortality, access to safe drinking water and gender equity in education. However, progress varies enormously between countries, therefore it is important to look beyond regional averages and focus on the most vulnerable groups and the worst areas. Regional advancement towards the goals in some areas has not been sufficient, and efforts must be maintained on poverty reduction - especially as an adverse pattern has developed where the countries with the highest poverty rates tend to improve less.
Another challenge is maternal mortality, as efforts have not yielded the expected outcomes. While the region has seen an increase in the number of children of all genders attending elementary school, there is still a long road ahead before universal primary education becomes a reality. It is necessary to make further efforts to move ahead on basic sanitation and environmental sustainability. Within this context, health plays a pivotal role that assists and strengthens all efforts in poverty alleviation. For the Americas, the MDGs constitute a historic opportunity to attain the highest level of political will to target efforts to reduce poverty and therefore improve health.

Political Commitments:

The concept of economic, social, and cultural rights with a special emphasis on the right to health is a political commitment expressed in the "Protocol of San Salvador”. Building on this concept, the Summit of the Americas Process, through its High-Level Hemispheric Head of State Meetings held every four years, and the Resolutions and Plans of Action they produce, have made clear that the MDGs are the centerpiece of development and the promotion of health in the region.

PAHO and the MDGs:

PAHO is a key contributor to the effort towards the attainment of the MDGs in the countries of the Americas. The Organization’s vision on the MDGs was approved by member countries during the 45th Session of the Directing Council in September 2004, and led to an official resolution calling for countries and PAHO to use the MDGs as a guide for national and international efforts towards better health for the peoples of the Region.

MDGs approach:

By nature, in order to be achieved, the MDGs require focalized actions targeting society’s most vulnerable groups, and coordinated efforts towards poverty reduction, and the improvement of health, education, gender equity, and the environment. In other words, it is necessary to have a synergistic approach in order to successfully reduce extreme poverty and its consequences to health. Therefore, the MDGs require coherent public policies that strengthen intersectoriality and that are directed to the populations most in need.

Participation from all sectors:

The Goals are also based on the notion that the citizens of the World should be awarded economic, social, and cultural rights, among which is the right to health. In that regard, social protection for health was recognized as a key element for national progress. The countries of the Region are committed to broadening prevention, care, and promoting strategies, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable segments of society, thus taking on the challenge, and the commitment, to ensure social cohesion to its peoples. Furthermore, given the interconnectedness of the Goals, it is impossible to advance towards the achievement of the MDGs without the creation of strategies based on the analysis of the social determinants of health, and the establishment of policies requiring the participation of a multiplicity of sectors in unison. The social determinants of health pertain to the specific characteristics of the social context as well as the ways in which social conditions affect health and how these can be modified through informed action. They must be analyzed bearing in mind the historical and structural factors that have placed women and ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. They also require the attentive study and consideration of geography, ethnicity, race and generational groups.

PAHO Principles

PAHO's work on the MDGs relies on a general conceptual framework based on the following principles.

Equity

By nature, in order to be achieved, the MDGs require focalized actions targeting society's most vulnerable groups, and coordinated efforts towards poverty reduction, and the improvement of health, education, gender equity, and the environment through inter-sector efforts. In other words, it is necessary to have a synergistic approach in order to successfully reduce extreme poverty and avoid its consequences on public health. Therefore, the MDGs require coherent public policies that strengthen inter-sectoriality and that are directed to the populations most in need.


Right to Health

The MDGs are based on the notion that the citizens of the world should be awarded economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to health. This vision reflects the political agreement entrenched in the "Protocol of San Salvador" of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, area of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Signed in San Salvador, El Salvador during the eighteenth regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States on November 17, 1988, the protocol regards the social protection of health as a key element for national progress.

Social Cohesion

The countries of the Region are committed to broaden prevention, care, and promotion strategies, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable segments of society, thus taking on the challenge, and the commitment, to ensure social cohesion of its peoples.

Social Determinants of Health

Furthermore, given the interconnectedness of the goals, it is impossible to advance towards the achievement of the MDGs without the creation of strategies based on the analysis of the social determinants of health, and the establishment of policies requiring the participation of a multiplicity of sectors in unison. The social determinants of health pertain to the specific characteristics of the social context as well as the ways in which social conditions affect health and how these can be modified through informed action. They must be analyzed bearing in mind the historical and structural factors that have placed women and ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. They also require the attentive study and consideration of geography, ethnicity, race and generational groups.



Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 16:00

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