Tuesday, 4 September 2007

New health initiative to bolster G8 promises

When Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, will announce details of the new International Health Partnership initiative later this week, he will have the backing of relevant non-governmental organisations. The programme has already presented during Angela Merkel’s, visit to London on 22 August. The plans for an International Health Partnership are part of a global campaign on health and are designed to co-ordinate international funding for health systems in poor countries. It will bring together major donor countries together with international agencies like the World Bank and World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a joint statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following bilateral talks in Downing Street, Gordon Brown said that addressing healthcare and aid provision was now a "development emergency". The new Partnership, which will launch formally on 5 September, will drive forward work on Millennium Development Goals involving the reduction of child and maternal mortality and the tackling of specific diseases such as HIV/AIDS (see video).

Alison Woodhead, head of Oxfam's international campaign for health and education, said on 22 August, "This is a great initiative that deserves widespread international support. Brown and Merkel should be congratulated for following through on their G8 promises to improve health care. The challenge for them now is to make sure other countries get on board to ensure maximum impact. There are women, men and children in developing countries who are dying because they don't have access to healthcare or any doctors or nurses to attend to them. This Partnership could literally save lives, by coordinating investment in healthcare that is free, public, and well staffed."

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