Feb. 11

What Can We Achieve In 688 Days?

by Ray Chambers

In 688 days we will come to the end of what has been mankind’s most remarkable shared journey to improve the health and well-being of the world’s people. I remain optimistic that we can meet or exceed many, if not all, of the ambitious goals we set in 2001. But to do so, we must stay focused on and committed to the world’s poor, and to one another. We must align around shared quarterly plans that take us through the end of 2015 and be diligent in tracking our progress against them, making adjustments when results lag.

To this end, and as part of the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman, Every Child Movement, we have worked with partners to develop an “MDG 4 Achievement Roadmap,” which was launched at the World Economic Forum late last month. This is a shared plan, with essential buy-in from key child survival partners including USAID, UNICEF and the Government of Norway. An MDG5 quarterly roadmap is in the works, as is one to test and treat the missing 3 million patients who are estimated to require treatment for tuberculosis. On the malaria front – with child deaths now halved and fallen to below 500,000 – we believe we can achieve the goal of fewer than 100,000 child deaths per year if the requisite funding from the Global Fund and partners is made available. And we have high confidence that the goal of achieving an end to mother-to-child HIV transmission is achievable by the end of 2015.

Our office wants to support all partners in our shared goals to save the requisite number of lives over the remaining 8 quarters, so we will begin publishing a bi-monthly newsletter that tracks progress and highlights important news, insights and partner efforts. We also have launched a new website, focused exclusively on the health MDGs. I encourage you and your colleagues to explore our new website and to offer suggestions and ideas for telling the story of our shared journey. Thank you to each of you for all you are doing, and here’s to our continued success in the year ahead.

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