Wednesday@UNIC: Health MDGs Must Remain Central to the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Harare, 29 January 2014 - With only about 700 days left to the target date for MDGs, there has been good progress in the fight against HIV, Malaria and TB; but MDG targets related to child and maternal health are lagging behind in Zimbabwe and across Africa, Dr. David Okello, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Zimbabwe has said.

“Despite some progress made, most of the MDG targets, particularly the health MDGs, are yet to be achieved” stated Dr. David Okello. He was peaking at the 8th session of the Wednesday@UNIC public discussion that was held on 29 January 2014 on “Health in Post 2015 Development Agenda” at the UN Information Centre in Harare.

Close to 70 people representing Government, UN, donors, international development agencies, civil society organizations and the media participated in the public discussion.

Noting that the debates on the Post-2015 Development Agenda arise from reflections on progress made in the implementation of the MDGs, Dr. Okello emphasized that the health MDGs “must remain central to the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

Dr. Okello highlighted that additional health priorities, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, non communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, health systems and social determinants of health, which were missed in the MDGs, must be included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Articulating the position of Africa on health goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in May 2013, the African Union  suggested that the focus should be to “Ensure quality, adequate, affordable, accessible and comprehensive health services for all”.

During the ensuing discussion at the Wednesday@UNIC, participants noted that there was need to clarify the national engagement process and proposed to have an all-inclusive national discussion to connect the global and regional debates to the national development context.

Participants also suggested the need for the media to highlight ongoing debates and discussions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to inform and engage the public. Other issues raised were related to grassroots engagement, generating up to date development data, as well as the need to further advocate for social services. Participants voiced the need to keep the Post-2015 Development Agenda simple, convincing, clear, and easy to communicate, especially at policy makers and communities levels.