Washington, DC: This August 18, 2014 we mark 500 days until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight goals established by the United Nations and member states globally to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems—maternal health, illiteracy, and poverty, to name a few. Of the eight goals, the health and well being of children and young mothers have been at the crux of this multi-year global campaign. The results have been astounding in some respect and lukewarm in others. The general agreement remains that the health of women and mothers is crucial to the prosperity of entire nations.
Numerous women’s health initiatives, campaigns, and projects spearheaded by the public and private sectors as well as collaborations between the two, have brought unprecedented spotlight into the challenges and rewards of addressing women’s health around the world. These bona fide partnerships have led to the emergence of global health as a foreign policy issue for donor countries. However, there is no single methodology of capturing, following up, and continuing the global discourse on women’s health beyond high-level meetings. This is why we decided to dedicate an entire edition on this issue.
In May this year, health leaders from around the world gathered in Geneva for the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly. At the top of the agenda’s discussion this year was child mortality. A stark statistic still reminds us we are far from reaching the goal: every year, almost three million newborns die within the first month of their lives.
At the crux of the global health discussion as it pertains to children’s health, in particular, is immunization against preventable diseases. Tuberculosis is still rampant in the developing world but it can become an opportunity to jump-start U.S.-India diplomatic rapport if the two countries put collaboration on combating the disease at the top of their foreign policy agenda. WHO diplomats and other leaders are already prioritizing this disease by approving a Post-2015 Global Strategy to Fight Tuberculosis. The strategy sets targets to reduce TB deaths by 95 percent and to cut new TB cases by 90 percent between 2015 and 2035.
Another preventable disease, polio, is rampant in certain areas of the globe. In this edition, we are thankful for Paul Nash’s expert China commentary on how the disease threatens the region through unregulated routes, pointing once again to the importance of international collaboration to combat health challenges that see no borders.
Ana C. Rold is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier.