Inadequate Health Systems

August 23, 2005


In an August 22 report from the WHO the goals (or Millenium Report. similar to Healthy People) states that “Despite gains in reducing poverty worldwide, the data presented in the new WHO report indicate that if trends established in the 1990s continue, the majority of developing countries will not achieve the health MDGs. This in turn will affect progress towards other goals. With less than ten years to the target date of 2015, none of the poorest regions of the developing world are on track to meet the child mortality target. For maternal mortality, declines have been limited to countries which already have lower mortality levels. The goal of reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and reversing the incidence of malaria and other communicable diseases remains a huge challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. The safe water target may be achieved globally, but not in sub-Saharan Africa. “Providing universal access to broad-based health services could save several million children’s lives each year,” said Dr LEE. “That would reverse the downward trends and bring us two-thirds of the way to meeting the child mortality goal, and 70% to 80% towards meeting the maternal mortality goal.” “We have the treatments; the technology is known and affordable,” Dr LEE said. “The problem in many countries is getting the staff, medicines, vaccines and information to those who need them on time and in sufficient quantities. In too many countries, the health systems to do that either do not exist or are on the point of collapse.” Health and the Millennium Development Goals also identifies future health challenges in the developing world. If health is to have its full impact on reducing poverty, there is a need to address: the growing burden of noncommunicable disease in the developing world, which is leading to a “double burden” of ill-health; the “nutrition transition” in which people in developing countries begin to adopt unhealthy eating habits common in richer countries and suffer the health consequence; the need for universal access to reproductive and sexual health services as agreed at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development; and the impact of globalization on the spread of disease and migration of health staff.