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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)
Lancet. 2006 Sep 23; 368(9541):1042-1044.Children are our best investment. What we do for the world's children, more than anything else we do, forms our legacy as political leaders in the world. Thus, I, as Prime Minister of Norway, call for courageous steps to protect our children, our common future. The new millennium has given mankind unprecedented opportunities. Today we are moving towards a tightly knit global community at an accelerating pace. What we do as individual countries and what we do together will determine the character of this emerging global community, its values, its welfare, and our future. Protecting our children is a moral and political imperative. It is also essential for socioeconomic development. (excerpt)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2006 May; 84(5):338.The context for this theme collection is the publication of the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health. The report of the Commission -- instigated by WHO's World Health Assembly in 2003 -- was an attempt to gather all the stakeholders involved to analyse the relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health, with a particular focus on the question of funding and incentive mechanisms for the creation of new medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests, to tackle diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries. In reality, generating a common analysis in the face of the divergent perspectives of stakeholders, and indeed of the Commission, presented a challenge. As in many fields -- not least in public health -- the evidence base is insufficient and contested. Even when the evidence is reasonably clear, its significance, or the appropriate conclusions to be drawn from it, may be interpreted very differently according to the viewpoint of the observer. (excerpt)