Primary healthcare is high on the post-2015 agenda
Review by Steve Fouch, CMF Head of Nursing
Last week the Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group (SDG-OWG) on Health and Population Dynamics published its report (1) that will feed in to the Post-2105 development goal process. Its main points are that we should have an overall goal to achieve health and wellbeing at all ages.
The main focus is on primary health care that includes sexual and reproductive health, family planning, immunisations, preventative medicine, with a particular emphasis on treatment and prevention of major communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
There is a specific set of targets to reduce child and maternal mortality (to less than 20 in 1,000 live births and less than 40 in 100,000 live births respectively), and to reducing deaths caused by NCDs in those under 70 by more than 30% compared to 2015 levels. It also aims to promote healthy diets and physical activity, reduce unhealthy behaviours (excessive alcohol intake, smoking, etc.) and track social wellbeing and social capital.
This compares with the High Level Panel Report (2) on the World We Want consultation (to which CMF made a submission (3) and which was published in March 2013) which had an overall goal to Ensure Healthy Lives. It had specific targets similarly focused around maternal and child mortality (although had left the figures vague), increased vaccinations, increased access to sexual and reproductive health and reducing the burden of communicable, non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases. The overall thrust was towards equity of access, with 'no-one left behind'.
The emphasis on primary healthcare, lifestyle and preventative medicine and specific targets on maternal and child mortality is to be welcomed. While none of this is, in its surface language at least, at all contentious, there remains a concern that abortion and other undesirable means of birth control may be smuggled in under the family planning/sexual and reproductive health mantle.
And given the struggles the developed nations have in maintaining health services, or even extending universal access to health services to all their citizens, we cannot but be concerned that the aspiration to universal access in both reports is a pipe dream.