1-Around the world today, more than 1,400 women will die as a result of complications during pregnancy or childbirth, either because they have no access to health care or cannot afford it. This is a humanitarian crisis that is affecting the poorest women in Asia, Africa and Latin America – and it is one that will continue, unless we commit ourselves to tackling the lack of effective medical care in many parts of the world.
2-In 2000, the United Nations set out eight Millennium Development Goals, to be achieved by 2015. These included a reduction in child mortality, improvements in maternal health and combating diseases such as HIV/Aids and malaria. Needless to say, we are falling far short.
3-Funding for global health has more than doubled since 2000, saving millions of children and adults in some of the poorest countries. Yes, the rate of new Aids infections is starting to fall, and great progress is being made against malaria and TB. Yes, vaccines are reaching more children than ever, and there is more investment in new technologies for preventing and treating disease.
4-But the amount of money given by governments, aid agencies, foundations and individuals for health care remains fundamentally insufficient. Even before the current downturn, the amount being given was neither sufficiently large nor sufficiently predictable to do more than maintain the status quo.
5-There is a strange paradox here. We are more knowledgeable than ever. We have more resources than ever. We have and share more information than ever. So we should be more aware than we have ever been of the millions of people, especially women and children, left behind. We should realise that in my home country of Mozambique, as in much of Africa, a mother who gets sick will have older children who miss school to assume her responsibilities. It is very likely that the youngest children will not get enough to eat, and will get sick as well....