The importance of health in achieving the MDGs
Published: 07 December 2010
The Secretary General of the ACP addressed an audience at the European Development Days, opening a series of seminars on health in relation to the Millenium Development Goals.
Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas explained how three out of eight of the goals are directly related to health, and that health is "of paramount importance for long term development".
He described advances in medicine in the developing world over the past ten years. Fifteen per cent of the domestic budget to be allocated to health was an important step. increased donor coordination and harmonisation can also contribute to greater as well as more effective funding.
Although great leaps have been made in health since the MDGs were agreed, such as increased access to vaccines, he conceded that there are "still huge challenges ahead".
The gap between rich and poor countries remains vast, with 1 health worker per 10 people in Europe, but only per 1000 in Africa. In particular he raised his concerns that global objectives for maternal mortality are "lagging behind".
According to Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the relationship between health and development is fundamental: "Good health spurs social development and inclusive economic growth, enabling all people to reach their full potential."
"People's health is not a mortgage: it cannot be written off. It is a smart investment in the future. This is one of the most important investments we can make."
He called for increased and more effective funding for health and in terms of the MDGs said: "even if we don't succeed, let us be seen to have put in our best efforts."