The case for a new Global Fund for maternal, neonatal, and child survival.
In September, 2005, a summit of world leaders in New York, USA, will review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Three of the eight goals are explicitly health-related: to reduce child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters, and to control HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. A lack of progress by April, 2001, led Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, to establish a Global Fund to increase health investment, especially in Africa and Asia. The fund’s focus was control of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, which are diseases that kill more than 6 million people every year. To date, the Global Fund for AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria has committed US$3 billion in 128 countries to support aggressive interventions against the three diseases. Nearly 11 million children and more than 0.5 million mothers die every year, yet progress towards mortality reduction targets has been poor despite the availability of cost-effective and scalable interventions. Investment in maternal and child health programmes has lagged far behind those for AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The investment gap between what is needed and what is spent is large. Mothers and children, not for the first time, have lost out. Here, we put the case for a new Global Fund to reduce maternal, neonatal, and child mortality. (excerpt)