The United Nations recently issued The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, the latest assessment of progress towards the eight MDGs. In short, they have had mixed results. This article is part of a blog series reflecting on the MDGs and the U.N. report. These are produced in partnership with our colleagues at RESULTS (our parent organization).
>>Authored by Ifesinachi Sam-Emuwa, an Atlas Corps Fellow and the U.S Department of State fellowship Alumni
The launch of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development (also called “SDGs”) this month during the U.N. General Assembly will focus world attention once again on the global development framework. Countries and the global community must use this opportunity to focus not only on the future, but also on the unfinished work of the MDGs.
The MDGs came as a global development framework to drive the global fight against poverty; to improve education, health, and the environment; and also to boost partnerships among member nations to tackle these issues.
World leaders from 189 United Nations member states signed this global framework, agreeing to achieve its goals, targets, and indicators between 2000 and 2015. As that period comes to an end by September, 2015, it is important to understand how well the different countries performed against the goals. Knowing this will allow the global community to re-position strategically in bid to achieve the SDGs, which 193 member states of the U.N. will adopt by September 2015.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Besides other issues like eradication of extreme poverty and achieving universal primary education being tackled by the MDGs, the achievement of the health MDGs has been of great concern. Much focus was particularly put on achieving MDG 6 to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria (ATM) — deadly diseases that kill millions of people every year.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization, these are the latest statistics of the ATM:
- In 2014, approximately 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes globally (fact sheet).
- In 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease (fact sheet).
- In 2013, malaria caused an estimated 584,000 deaths, mostly among African children (fact sheet).
The MDG agenda helped to focus both energy and awareness on the fight against ATM, and progress to reach these targets and were driven by funding from partners like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and other donor funding to implementing countries. Awareness about these diseases has increased, stigma and discrimination have been reduced, and people are learning how to avoid contracting these diseases. In that regard, MDG 6 has had huge global success, especially around treatment and management of the ATM.
For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 40 percent of people living with HIV received anti-retroviral treatment (ART) in 2014. New advancements in malaria treatment have been achieved, with WHO now recommending the use of ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) antimalarial drug used in the treatment of malaria. Controlling the spread of tuberculosis (TB) has also improved through the DOTS (directly observed treatment, short-course) centers, these are centers that provides TB patients with treatments while directly observing them. These are all steps in the right direction for the eradication of the ATM.
Nigeria’s strategy for MDG 6
Nigeria made its own efforts to implement programs geared towards eradicating ATM by establishing agencies to oversee the implementation of interventions. The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), and the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) were established in a bid to contribute to the global fight against ATM in Nigeria.
Nigeria has made a lot of progress towards achieving MDG 6 and other MDGs — but isn’t there yet. Like many other countries (Kenya, for example), Nigeria needs to focus on domestic resource mobilization and also to use the new opportunity presented by the SDGS to refocus its national strategy. Nigeria’s government should focus interventions on equity; using the equity lens, Nigeria could ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people are reached with the various health interventions.
The question of whether or not Nigeria has achieved the MDGs should not impede the country from focusing on stamping out HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Nigeria successfully rallied against Ebola in 2014 and has now reached a one year polio-free milestone. With effort, resources, and political will, Nigeria can meet its agreed-to milestones on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and save lives.
About the Author
Ms. Ifesinachi Sam-Emuwa is a Professional Fellow for the U.S Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She is also an Atlas Corps Fellow and a USAID CIDI volunteer. She has over eight years of professional experience in the nonprofit sector working with Treasureland Health Builders Initiative; she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University and a Master Degree in Community Development and Social Work from University of Lagos. She has Certifications in Global Health and International women’s health & human rights from the USAID and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health eLearning Center and Stanford University Online respectively. While working as a Project Coordinator and Community Development Specialist with Treasureland Health Builders Initiative under the Global Fund Malaria and HIV/AIDS Project, she helped improve the health of rural dwellers reducing the incidence of malaria and HIV/AIDS in Western Nigeria.
Ms. Ifesinachi is passionate about reproductive health of young people and women, and has trained over 3,800 women and girls on becoming community volunteers in that area. She has authored three books and has received several awards for her outstanding contributions to youth, women & community development in Nigeria. Through these experiences, she developed strong project coordination and implementation skills.
- On Team Nigeria’s blog
- Equity: Tool for Achieving the Health Sustainable Development Goals, ACTION blog
- On World Pulse
 According to a research study conducted by Adedokun A. & Ololade, B.M (2014), “Nigeria in the Eve of MDGs Final: A Progressive Analysis,” in Developing Country Studies, http://www.academia.edu/7538837/Nigeria_in_the_Eve_of_MDGs_Final_A_Progressive_Analysis