The Millennium Development Goals

In September 2000, all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations in New York adopted the Millennium Declaration for peace, security and development. The Summit established goals and targets to be reached by 2015. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are as follows:

(1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
(2) Achieve universal basic education
(3) Promote gender equality and empower women;
(4) Reduce child mortality
(5) Improve maternal health
(6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
(7) Ensure environmental sustainability
(8) Develop a global partnership for development.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) place health at the heart of development. Three of the eight goals, eight of the 18 targets, and 18 of the 48 indicators of progress are health-related.

According to WHO, improvements in health are important in their own right, but better health is also a prerequisite and a major contributor to economic growth and social cohesion. Conversely, improvement in people’s access to health technology is a good indicator of the success of other development processes. For example, economic capabilities affect health, as low income constrains access to health care and health promoting opportunities. Equally significantly, ill-health limits people’s ability to earn higher incomes, and contributes to poverty. Eliminating gender disparities (Goal 3) and increasing enrolment rates for primary education (Goal2) are prerequisites for success in improving health outcomes. It is therefore important that the health-related MDGs are not seen in isolation as discrete programmes but as the result, or desired outcomes, of a development agenda with several parts working together.