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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel today announced an International Health Partnership designed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Partnership will include major donor countries, including Britain and Germany, and key international agencies such as the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to accelerate MDGs 4, 5 and 6: reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

After their meeting in London, the two leaders released a joint statement in which they said: “We see this as a critical step in our call for an international mobilisation of effort to achieve the MDGs that will build year on year until 2015. Our efforts must bring together the private sector, NGOs, faith groups, international agencies and governments in a new partnership to reduce poverty, improve health and provide opportunities for the poor across the world.”

The Partnership focuses on healthcare because “of the MDGs, those focusing on health are the least likely to be met.” There is a lack of strong health systems with sufficient health workers, clinics and supply of medicines, but global health assistance is also too fragmented. The Partnership will focus on strengthening the global health infrastructure.

“We reaffirm our commitment made at the G8 and the EU to provide the financing needed to meet our health commitments through the established institutions and mechanisms. In this context, the replenishment of the Global Fund will be a key step. We will also explore innovative financing mechanisms to meet these commitments,” they said.

Both Brown and Merkel are following through on their G8 promises of last June. In Heiligendamm, Germany, the leaders of the world’s 8 richest countries promised more funds for healthcare and better coordination of health aid. Brown talked earlier about a “global alliance” in a speech at the UN Head Quarters last month and urged countries to renew their commitments to the MDGs.

The International Health Partnership will have its official launch on September 5.


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