Governments need to ‘join up and scale up’ on health
Monday, April 7, 2014
World Health Day is a chance to reflect on the progress we’ve made since the occasion was first marked in 1950. But it’s also a moment to reflect on the huge challenges that remain. One child dying from preventable causes is one too many — but in reality, 6.6 million die in this way each year.
The approaching deadline for the Millennium Development Goals presents us with a real opportunity. Now — in the final push toward those targets and in the design of those that will follow — is the time for bold steps toward realizing the right to health for all. That means deep reflection on how we need to shape our approach to global health going forward. For me, one word stands out: integration.
Last year, I visited a school project which Plan International helped set up in Tanzania. It was great to see the progress the children were making in their learning. As I left, though, I saw a powerful reminder of why education and health programs must not exist in silos. A group of early teenage girls were gathered outside around a large white van. It was a mobile health clinic, visiting the school as part of the government’s efforts, supported by Plan, to provide universal health coverage. The girls were receiving tetanus vaccinations.