Thursday, September 06, 2007

Global Health back on track!

On 5 September history was made by 7 Ministers of Health from low-income countries together with serious politicians from West Europe and representatives from aid organisations that had learnt their lessons . The group launched the International Health Partnership.

If aid from rich countries should effectively improve health of the poor, they said, the aid must be:
1. coordinated,
2. foucsed on improving health systems as a whole instead of one disease at a time,
3. and part of good national plans.

These statements are evidance based, much needed but "un-sexy". So let me translate the 3 statements into blunt words:
1. It is mad that Ministries of Health in low-income countries each week must meet a growing number of aid delegations.
2. It is cruel to tell millions of poor mothers; "your child is dying from pneumonia for which our clinic have no drugs because Bush, Blair and rich activits did not know that pneumonia and diarrhea kill as many as do malaria, TB and HIV.
3. It is stupid to fund seprate clinics for each disease when there is not even staff and money e nough for one clinic in each village.

So, 5 September 2007, is a happy day for global health. Fragmented health aid based on what is "sexy" in the media of the rish will be replaced by health aid focusing on what is needed in the clinic of the poor.
Why is Sweden not yet part of the International Health Partnership? The Swedish Minister for Development Aid recently wisely focused Swedish bilateral aid too fewer countries. So hopefully she will soon join the Partnership of the wise. In these issues it seems more important if politicians are wise than if they come from left or right, so we can hope that Sweden will join.