Malaria Consortium welcomes the UN Secretary General’s synthesis report as an important contribution to the post-2015 negotiation process. It is crucial that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both continue with the unfinished work of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as builds upon their success to tackle emerging issues.
The Secretary General outlines six essential elements for achieving the SDGs: people, dignity, prosperity, justice, partnership and planet. He also supported the General Assembly’s adoption of the Open Working Group’s proposed 17 goals as the basis for the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations.
We welcome in particular goal three: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Equitable access to universal healthcare is a crucial component of a healthy and prosperous country, and therefore we welcome the commitment to universal healthcare coverage.
Health system strengthening is an important component of this, as the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has demonstrated, however it is important that this does not come at the expense of disease-specific interventions, which are vital to making progress against malaria, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and other childhood illnesses.
The inclusion of a malaria-specific goal in the MDGs was a crucial step in galvanising the international community to tackle this devastating disease. The recently published WHO World Malaria Report 2014 illustrates the impact that the huge scaling up of resources and sustained focus that this led to has had; mortality rates have fallen by 47 percent globally since 2000 thanks to the scaling up of malaria control interventions.
We would therefore urge the Secretary General to ensure that there remains a similar focus on malaria in the post-2015 framework. We know from past experience in the fight against malaria that the progress achieved to date can be lost within a few years if efforts are not maintained.
Malaria Consortium are also concerned that the report makes no mention of NTDs. According to the WHO, NTDs affect 1 billion people worldwide, are endemic in 149 countries and cause over 500,000 deaths each year. The poorest and most marginalised are also those most at risk from these 17 diseases which lead to disability, stigmatisation and poverty. We urge the international community to include a commitment to tackle NTDs in the post-2015 framework.
Malaria Consortium welcome the vision of ‘leaving no one behind’ and a commitment to universal, integrated and human rights-based agenda for sustainable development. Whilst strong progress has been made in tackling diseases such as malaria over the last 15 years, the largest burden remains in the poorest and most vulnerable communities. We must do more to strengthen health systems and reduce the burden of diseases and childhood illnesses in these countries if development over the next 15 years is to truly be universal, equitable and inclusive.