With specific reference to health, the report states that “there is a strong argument that the post-2015 framework should include one overarching goal on health based on Universal Health Coverage, rather than the three health-related goals which feature in the original MDGs. This should be done in such a way that the current vital emphasis on maternal and child mortality is not lost.”
Whilst recognizing the value of an overall health goal within the new post-2015 framework, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance believes that any new health goal must encompass all of the MDG targets that are currently unmet, including those under MDG 6 to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
The existing MDG 6 has played a key role in driving the global scale up of programmes to tackle major pandemics – as a result millions of lives have been saved. The global HIV response has ensured that infections among children have decreased dramatically, the number of adults newly infected with HIV continues to decline and more than eight million people in low and middle income countries are on antiretroviral therapy. It has also contributed to progress towards the first five MDGs and to strengthening health systems.
According to Fionnuala Murphy, the Alliance’s policy manager: “Because of the concrete targets under MDG 6 we are now able to foresee the spread of HIV being halted and reversed. Universal health coverage needs to include universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and a goal around it should aim for zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths. Without such targets, the momentum created by MDG 6 could be lost and the gains made thus far in fighting HIV squandered.”
She continued: “The IDC also recognises the need for a greater focus on equality, with better disaggregated data to monitor progress amongst 'hard to reach' groups. It’s necessary to protect the rights of people living with HIV and vulnerable groups most at risk – men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and women and girls.”
The Alliance argues that an integrated HIV response with a stronger focus on rights and equality would pay massive dividends not just in limiting new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths but in reducing maternal and child mortality and helping to eradicate poverty. It would also respond to the reality that the majority of people living with HIV and those living in extreme poverty now reside in middle income countries, not in the low income states to which many donors are shifting their focus.
Murphy concluded: “The post 2015 programme can’t set the bar any lower than the goals and commitments we have now which are delivering results”.