Public health crises and other alarming headlines on the news are becoming increasingly commonplace. Monkeypox, coronavirus, and now, polio updates released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are all part of our new normal. This raises the question: what steps are being taken to combat such situations and how are they being managed? The United Nations (UN) and other international organizations have worked tirelessly in the last decades to address public health, humanitarian, and political crises. Several initiatives have become the clear leaders in global health, with regular meetings and reports coming out each year. The most notable of these initiatives is the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals are seventeen goals set by the United Nations, which was an essential part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Some of the goals are not a new innovation; rather, they are built on the previous work of the UN and member-nations. In fact, a similar plan of action, the Agenda 21, was adopted in 1992. The SDGs are incredibly comprehensive, from eliminating poverty to conserving using marine resources to making human settlements inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. With over a thousand publications and thousands of actions and events implemented to meet these goals by 2030, the UN and member-nations have directed a tremendous amount of resources towards meeting these goals. Of the seventeen SDGs, all of them play a role in global health, but SDG 3 is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.” Within this SDG, there are 13 targets, and the Global Financing Facility is one way that the UN works to address this goal.
Global Financing Facility (GFF)
The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) is a subset of the World Bank. Launched in 2015, the facility supports 36 countries in “developing and implementing prioritized national health plans to scale up access to affordable, quality care for women, children and adolescents.” The GFF exists to “support countries to get on a trajectory to achieve the SDGs” by soliciting and streamlining financing from domestic governments, the IDA, the IBRD, the private sector, and external resources. Notable accomplishments include lowering the maternal mortality rate, the under-5 mortality rate, the neonatal mortality rate, and the adolescent birth rate. Along with financing these health plans, the GFF also works to monitor essential health services for both maternal and children’s health. In addition, secure sexual health and reproductive health rights (SRHR) for women and adolescents.
Global Health Security Agenda
The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched and endorsed by the G7 (list of member-nations) in 2014. GHSA was created to address the growing threat “that infectious diseases constitute in our increasingly interconnected world.” The key objectives of the GHSA include supporting countries’ capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases and promote and galvanize international cooperation. The GHSA 2024 target is a set of goals that are meant to evaluate health security capacity and implement strategies that show improvements in “five technical areas.” By 2019, 47 countries have met the 2024 target, and 100 countries have completed the health security capacity evaluation. Countries who have met the 2024 target have seen marked improvement in food safety, health service provision, risk communication, etc. It is very evident that these initiatives and programs are very necessary in the world we live in and will only steer us to a better and healthier future.
Thank you for reading!
- Adeba M.