The Global Campaign for the Health MDGs

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The Global Campaign for the Health MDGs

25 September 2008

The Global Campaign for the Health MDGs: First year report 2008.

A group of global leaders met in New York on 26 September 2007 to launch the Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Campaign aims to give renewed impetus to Goals 4, 5 and 6 which focus on the urgent need to improve maternal, newborn and child health and to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

To mark the first year of the Campaign, a progress report was released on 25 September. It provides an update of major activities during the last year, and highlights concrete actions that are required to accelerate the necessary progress if we are to reach the health related MDGs by 2015.

Read the contribution by Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS:

Scaling up towards Universal Access: AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Immunization

AIDS is inextricably linked to the other MDGs: education, gender equality and poverty eradication are all vital for fighting it. And in many countries reducing HIV infections and deaths from AIDS is essential for making progress on other MDGs.

By the end of 2007, the global number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths had begun to decline – largely the result of action on political commitments. At the G8 summits in 2005 and 2008, and at the UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2006, leaders agreed to scale up to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.

There are now 105 countries with national targets for universal access, and 147 countries submitted progress reports this year. In 2007, investment in HIV programmes reached US$10 billion, up from US$8.3 billion in 2005. Extraordinary efforts resulted in three million people in low- and middle-income countries receiving anti-retroviral treatment in 2007 – a million more than in 2006.

Several heavily affected countries are making progress on HIV prevention. There are falls in the number of people having more than one partner in the last year, increases in condom use among promiscuous young people, and, in sub-Saharan Africa, signs that people are beginning to have sex at a later age.

Access has improved to antiretroviral drugs that prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. In low- and middle-income countries, a third of women who need the drugs can get them – up from 14% in 2005. Some countries, including Argentina, Botswana, Georgia and the Russian Federation, have achieved close to universal access, with PMTCT services at more than 75% coverage. In Botswana, just 4% of children born to HIV-positive mothers are infected.

Other prevention efforts are also improving. Of 39 countries reporting on it, coverage of HIV-prevention services for sex workers is 60%. For people who inject drugs coverage is nearly 50% in 15 countries, and for men who have sex with other men it is 40% in 27 countries.

In many countries AIDS programmes are supporting fragile health systems, improving service delivery, staff, information systems, governance and the procurement and management of drugs. We recommend using a third of HIV/AIDS resources to strengthen health systems.

There is more to do. In low- and middle-income countries, two-thirds of people requiring antiretroviral drugs cannot get them. For every two people starting HIV treatment, five become infected. AIDS remains the biggest killer of African adults (25-49) and is among the top ten killers worldwide. Like climate change, AIDS will require a long-term response. We need to build on progress and strengthen links with other health programmes, notably tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health.

This will require more money: over 50% more by 2010 to maintain the current pace of growth in prevention and treatment. The price is worth paying.

Peter Piot
Executive Director