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Health Must Be Recognized In Future Framework For Fighting Global Poverty

Noting “[w]e are just three years away from the target date for achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by all … U.N. member states back in 2000 to eradicate global poverty,” Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in this Independent opinion piece reflects “on the critical role of health in and beyond the Millennium Development Goals” ahead of the second meeting of the U.N. Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the future strategy to fight global poverty, set to take place in London on Wednesday. Piot writes that the MDGs have “given local and global focus to efforts to tackle the big issues,” while inspiring action, innovation, and new financing models, but he notes “there is still so much more we need to do.”

“The next three years are critical, but we also need to look well beyond 2015, and to reflect on lessons learned, and how to implement and scale up solutions that improve the economic, health, development and equality prospects of all, especially the one billion people around the world who still live in extreme poverty,” Piot writes. “Health must be recognized in any future framework as an important indicator of progress on multiple issues; but it also needs to be recognized in its own right as a fundamental driver of development,” he continues, adding, “Health goals and targets beyond 2015 should not be weaker than within the current Millennium Development Goals.” He concludes, “Despite the progress so far, disease and poverty will not disappear in 2015, and we have much to do to provide a healthier future for all our children and grandchildren” (10/30).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.