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Is trade liberalization of services the best strategy to achieve health-related Millennium Development Goals in Latin America? A call for caution.
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública / Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2006 Nov; 20(5):341-346.In September 2000, at the United Nations (UN) Millennium Summit, 147 heads of state adopted the Millennium Declaration, with the aim of reflecting their commitment to global development and poverty alleviation. This commitment was summarized in 8 goals, 14 targets, and 48 measurable indicators, which together comprise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be attained by 2015. All of the MDGs contribute to public health, and three are directly health-related: MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (improve maternal health), and 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases). Progress towards these goals has proved difficult. In an attempt to identify practical steps to achieve the MDGs, the UN Development Programme initiated the UN Millennium Project in 2002. This three-year "independent" advisory effort established 13 task forces to identify strategies and means of implementation to achieve each MDG target, and each task force produced a detailed report. A Task Force on Trade was created for MDG 8 to develop a global partnership for development. The mandate of the Task Force on Trade was to explore how the global trading system could be improved to support developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the poorest nations. (excerpt)
PAHO Bulletin. 1988; 22(4):416-29.This article, which is a summary of a World Bank policy study, states that the characteristics and performance of health sectors vary tremendously in developing countries. In most cases, the sector faces three main problems: insufficient spending on cost-effective health activities; internal inefficiency of public programs; and inequity in the distribution of benefits from health services. It is argued that each of these problems is due in part to the efforts of governments to cover the full costs of health care for everyone from general public revenues. Proposed policy reforms include: charge users of government health facilities; provide insurance or other risk coverage; use nongovernmental resources effectively; and decentralize government health services. However, it was pointed out that further analysis is needed on these proposed reforms.