European Development Days - debate on health MDGs

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Debate on "Can the Health MDGs still be met in times of crisis?" will focus on challenges of funding for global health

Geneva, 15 October 2009 - For this year's European Development Days, to be held in Stockholm from 22-24 October, the GAVI Alliance will be co-organising a debate on global health - together with the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS, the Stop AIDS Alliance, and AIDS Accountability International.

High-level representatives from all five organisations will be discussing the challenges of funding for global health in times of crisis. The key question for the debate will be: "Can the Health MDGs still be met in times of crisis?"

Reinforce commitments

Panelists are Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Joelle Tanguy, GAVI's Managing Director for External Relations, among others. The governments of Sweden and Spain, as well as the European Commission will also send high-level representatives to the panel.

Emphasis will be placed by all stakeholders on the necessity to reinforce commitments on health despite the current economic slowdown.

A focus of the debate will be the need for more accountability and to ensure an integrated approach to health as a constructive way forward.

European Commission supporting ACP countries through GAVI

More than 70 per cent of GAVI's support for immunisation and health programmes goes to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP). Since 2003, the European Commission has committed a total of up to € 53 million to support introduction of new and underused vaccines and reduce child mortality in ACP countries.

The ACP Committee of Ambassadors this year approved an additional € 20 million from the 10th EDF Intra-ACP Development Cooperation Funds to ensure that children in ACP countries continue to receive life-saving vaccines in 2010 and 2011.

Funds

GAVI's funds also come from a number of EU member states including Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The commitment of the European Commission and EU member states has helped GAVI immunise millions of children. WHO estimates that by the end of 2008 GAVI-funded programmes have averted 3.4 million premature deaths.

The health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

  • MDG 4, reduce child mortality by two thirds: although the number of children dying before reaching their fifth birthday has fallen below nine million for the first time on record, progress is uneven and especially in sub-Saharan Africa child mortality rates are still alarmingly high.
  • MDG 5, improve maternal health: the global maternal mortality ratio of 400 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 2005 has barely changed since 1990. Every year an estimated 536 000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa where the maternal mortality ratio is 900 per 100 000 births and where there has been no measurable improvement since 1990. A woman in Africa may face a 1-in-26 lifetime risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth, compared with only 1 in 7300 in the developed regions.
  • MDG 6, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases:HIV/AIDS: the percentage of adults living with HIV worldwide has remained stable since 2000 but there were an estimated 2.7 million new infections during 2007. Moreover, deaths are increasing in parts of Africa, particularly eastern and southern Africa. One third of the estimated 9.7 million people in developing countries who need antiretroviral treatment are receiving it.

    Tuberculosis: the MDG target for reducing the incidence of tuberculosis was met globally in 2004. Since then, incidence has continued to fall slowly. Thanks to early detection of new cases and effective treatment, success rates have been rising from 79% in 1990 to 85% in 2006.

    Malaria: efforts to control malaria are beginning to pay off with significant increases in the proportion of children sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Twenty-seven countries - including five in Africa - have reported a reduction of up to 50% in malaria cases between 1990 and 2006.
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