As Ishdeep reports, the conference aims to generate political and financial commitment to fulfil Millennium Development Goal 5, to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health.
The Alliance believes that integrated services are the key to making progress not just on this goal, but also Millennium Development Goals 4 and 6, focused on child mortality, and HIV. The benefits of integrated services are currently being debated at the conference.
Debate has raged for decades about the advantages and costs of integrating health services. And as we place greater emphasis on strengthening health systems, there is renewed pressure to integrate them.
A panel of leading international figures in health systems, sexual health and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS discussed these critical issues during the Chairman’s session 'Integration: Is it the holy grail?'
Steven Sinding, Senior Fellow at the Guttmacher Institute and on the board of trustees of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, moderated the session.
Michel D Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund said the
Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6 are indivisible.
He said HIV, TB and malaria directly cause 1.1 million deaths a year among women aged 15-59 years and 1.2 million deaths among children aged 0-14 years. HIV is a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.
HIV and malaria are among the most common indirect causes of maternal deaths. HIV prevention and care are core elements of sexual and reproductive health, and gender inequities are a common underlying barrier to improving women’s health.
By investing in women, we are investing in the health and development of families, of communities and ultimately, of entire countries.
Unless experts in sexual and reproductive health - including maternal and child health (MCH) - and HIV join up and take an integrated approach, rather than addressing each MDG separately, progress will be further delayed.
Read the full story.