|Panel 1: The Components of Global Health Security, MNCH, and Infectious Disease Agendas, is Integration Possible?|
Transitioning from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), panelists shared best practices they believe will enable governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector to work in a more integrated manner to solve global health issues. The panel addressed challenges in meeting broad and ambitious goals such as Sustainable Development Goal # 3: “to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. Other issues discussed included the failure to meet MDGs # 4 and 5, which deal with maternal, newborn and child health, the need to empower leadership at the community and country levels, and the roles of the private sector and government in initiatives such as the global health security agenda (GHSA).
Although maternal, newborn and child health has improved greatly over the past decade, MDGs # 4 and 5, which target infant and maternal mortality, are lagging behind. In response to this, governments have partnered with NGOs, civil society, and private sector in movements such as Every Woman, Every Child, to address major health challenges facing women and children. This movement has since grown to include Every Adolescent, Everywhere, in an effort to address growing needs in humanitarian settings [Temmerman]. The panel agreed that learning from these successful partnerships was critical to the success of SGDs, and welcomed WHO’s Dr. Marleen Temmerman’s announcement of the launch of a special supplement in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) focusing on a variety of topics including women, children and adolescent issues in humanitarian settings, financing of global initiatives, impact of social determinants and human rights. In addition to cross-sectoral partnerships, France believes the successful implementation of the SDGs will require creative approaches and innovation means to improve financing mechanism instruments, building a robust health workforce, and alleviating health security issues. There was consensus that health ministries should work closely with other ministries such as education, finance and diplomacy to maintain political attention on health. In addition to mobilizing through G7, France has joined the Global Health and Foreign Policy initiative along with Senegal, Norway, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa to bring public health issues at the top of the global political agenda [Bontems]. There was a concern that having broad goals that were not addressing specific issues could result in complacency. WHO’s plan to eliminate tuberculosis by 2035 for instance is not on track; UK Parliament’s Mr. Nick Herbert added that at the current rate, it would take approximate 2 centuries to eliminate TB. Some reasons for the lag in the fight against TB are shortage in finances, old fashioned tools, and inadequate health systems [Herbert]. Panelists agreed that health should be seen as an investment instead of an expenditure, especially because of its positive effects on nations’ economic growth. There is a push for European countries to adopt models that would use taxes on industries such as oil, to benefit population health [Bontems]. Panelists shared excitement over the increased engagement of the private sector in global health, but highlighted the need to invest in stronger leadership nationally as to empower governments to more effectively identify needs and coordinate collaborative responses [Temmerman].