Equity in Health

A Sustainable Forum?
Higgins K: Open Canada, 23 April 2013

A major outcome of the United Conference for Sustainable Development, better known as Rio+20, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the decision to establish a universal, intergovernmental high-level political forum (HLPF) on sustainable development. In this article, the author argues that argued that the proposed HLPF needs to truly be a forum on sustainable development, both in their work on the next set of global development goals and in their broader mandate, rather than a forum on environmental sustainability. The forum will need to make particular effort to engage on economic and social issues so that each of the three pillars of sustainable development is comprehensively addressed. The HLPF must also connect with human rights and peace and security communities to ensure support and legitimacy. The author advocates that the post-2015 development goals be structured as global goals, with national targets. This would make the goals actionable and relevant in different country contexts, and ideally, allow for the goals to be linked more directly to domestic policy priorities.

Treatment of infections

In those who are severely immunosuppressed, the treatment and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections remains important. This article, an adaptation of the 5th edition of the "ABC of AIDS," covers the management of opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, as well as various viral, bacterial, and fungal infections in those with AIDS.

Abstract news from Barcelona 2002 conference

The XIV International AIDS Conference (Barcelona, Spain, July 2002) has received almost 10 500 abstract submissions from the world’s leading scientists, clinicians, community representatives and people living with HIV/AIDS. This is the highest number of submissions ever received in the history of the series of international AIDS conferences.

Accelerating progress in maternal and newborn health: 'H4' agencies present their plan
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): 29 September 2009

Improving maternal health and reducing newborn deaths is a complex undertaking because, among other things, it involves strengthening health systems, scaling up programmes to reach remote rural areas and marginalised populations, and ensuring that appropriate resources are committed to what some consider a ‘woman’s issue.’ WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank, known as the ‘Health 4’ or ‘H4’, are supporting countries with the highest maternal mortality, starting with six countries that include the Democratic Republic of Congo. In these countries they are supporting strengthening health systems to reduce maternal mortality by 75% and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The four agencies are seeking to enhance collaboration to not only get more money for health, but also more health for the money, by harmonising and working jointly.

Accelerating progress on the MDGs: Country priorities for improving performance
Greeley M: Institute of Development Studies, September 2010

This report was prepared to advise the United Nations Development Group Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Task Force at the United Nations Summit on the MDGs, held from 20–24 September 2010, in the United States. It discusses six priorities to help countries to accelerate progress towards meeting the MDGs. 1. Country-led MDG strategies should integrate MDGs in their national development strategies, grounded in annual resource budgets that are planned through a medium-term expenditure framework. 2. A local accountability plan should be used to implement and evaluate results with mechanisms that are transparent and accountable to citizens. Policy, legal and institutional frameworks must make accountability real. 3. Governments should prioritise community participation and partnerships, taking full advantage of the efficiency and effectiveness gains from community involvement and through the use of the private sector and south-south partnerships. 4. Gender equality and women’s empowerment should be high on the agenda, and world leaders must recognise that progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment is critical to progress on the MDGs overall. 5. A policy of inclusion should be followed that addresses issues of inequality, exclusion and discrimination. Governments must assess and strengthen the targeting of public services and programmes to address inequality and all those that suffer from discrimination and social exclusion. 6. Resilience, for example in adapting to climate change, should help to protect the most vulnerable. Governments should adopt an effective and inclusive approach to social protection and prioritise sustainable development.

Accelerating response to AIDS in Swaziland

Accelerating its response to the AIDS challenge, the Swazi government has announced preferred suppliers of antiretroviral drugs, while the national AIDS funding agency says it has applied for a US $48.5 million grant from the Global Fund. "The nearly $50 million we have requested is for a five-year period, with $7 million going toward our first-year projects, and the funds will enable us to significantly step up interventions, particularly our programmes directed toward youth, which are currently under-funded," National Emergency Response Committee on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) director Dr Derek Von Wissell told PlusNews.

access for 3m by 2005

Will it be possible to meet the WHO goal of three million people having access to antiretrovirals by 2005? Speaking at a roundtable discussion on 'Issues and debates in HIV testing' at the 13th ICASA, Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Catherine Sozi of UNAIDS said that 30 million HIV positive people would have to be identified and 300 million people tested at a cost of US$1.8 billion.

Further details: /newsletter/id/30004
Access to health: A global problem in need of a global solution
Poirier J: Geneva Health Forum, 30 August 2006

To achieve global access to health care requires the participation of a range of actors including patients, well-organized NGOs and governments that are held accountable. This specific symposium covered a range of issues that are critical to providing access to health care for all. It also outlined the civil and social roles, such as that of the People's Health Movement (PHM).

Accounting for Nature's benefits: The dollar value of ecosystem services
Holzman DC: Environmental Health Perspectives 120, 1 April 2012

The value of ecosystem services typically goes unaccounted for in business and policy decisions and in market prices, according to this article. For commercial purposes, if ecosystem services are recognised at all, they are perceived as free goods, like clean air and water. The author considers the work of organisations like the United States President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which are working to build recognition of ecosystem services and, importantly, methods to evaluate them. By calculating specific values for these services, policy makers and resource managers may be able to make better-informed decisions that factor important environmental and human health outcomes into the bottom line.

Achieving sustainable health development in the African region: Strategic directions for WHO 2010–2015
World Health Organization: 2010

This document details the main strategic directions for the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the African Region for the period 2010–2015 and considers regional responses to the global health agenda, including new policies and tools for programmes related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). WHO’s strategic directions recognise the socio-economic dimension of health development and propose orientations to address the most serious health problems faced by people in Africa, as well as their key determinants. The document focuses on WHO’s mandate and its core functions, articulating its role in addressing Africa’s public health priorities, while giving space to other stakeholders involved in strengthening the implementation capacity of national health systems under the leadership of governments. Successful implementation of the strategic directions will require strong leadership, accountability and efficient use of resources. Those countries that have made progress towards achieving the MDGs are urged to share best practices with other countries in the region. According to WHO, boosting the capacity of health systems and improved monitoring and evaluation should enable the scaling up of proven and cost-effective health interventions and pave the way towards accelerated implementation of programmes aimed at achieving health MDGs.