Health is a right. Not a gift.

Last week was the DPI/NGO UN Conference in Melbourne. World leaders and delegates from NGO’s spent three days discussing global poverty and getting excited about the potential of taking real action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals… and eating the free sandwiches – lunch included at non-profit gatherings is a rarity.

Some conversations were repeats, many questions were irrelevant, and numerous delegates were on a mission to voice their own agenda.

BUT everyone there wanted to make a difference. Everyone there was driven by the same goal – the idea that making health global should and can be a reality.

Every one of the 1600 delegates turned up because they believe that we can make the world a better place. Yes, we are behind on meeting most of the Millenium Development Goals. Yes, there is concern over whether the government will & support exists to make these goals a reality. And yes, there have been mutterings that setting the goals themselves are futile.

But to have something on paper that gives us a global goal, and to provide opportunities for like minded people to inspire and re-energise each other is more than just a step in the right direction.

Political leaders do, however, need to be held accountable to financial and other commitments that have been agreed upon.  A motivated public, and the media, play a crucial role in enforcing this. Governments need to feel pressure from their people. We need to keep pushing to achieve the MDG’s. In the lead up to the UN MDG Summit in New York in two weeks time this is imperative.

During the conference last week the online troops were mobilised and the #AchieveMDGs hashtag reached almost 800,000 impressions during the 3 day conference.

Currently $1.46 trillion dollars per year is spent on international warfare. It would cost one tenth of this to achieve global health. So keep pushing. Health is a right, not a gift the government chooses to give. As Ban Ki-moon said in a recent report “Our world possesses the knowledge and the resources to achieve the MDGs” so let’s make this a reality.

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