HFA in Europe: post-Alma Ata response to the challenge of Primary Health Care

Keith Barnard


 In March this year Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, presented his report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). (See Box 3). The MDGs are important in securing “the economic and social advancement of all peoples” that the UN constitution states as a purpose of the Organization. The Report makes clear that health is a vital component of the whole UN agenda - peace and security, development and human rights. It also highlights the lack of systems for effective delivery, and of properly trained personnel –the right people in the right places.
The MDGs are clearly stated, readily understood and progress can be tracked. But they are selective, and although interconnected, do not truly constitute a new comprehensive strategy for the international community. 
Yet I do not feel I am reading too much into Kofi Annan in thinking that he at least wants a rediscovery of the vision, idealism and shared sense of purpose of 1945. His report also presents proposals for reform of the United Nations Organization. Its title, ‘In Larger Freedom’, is a phrase consciously taken from the Preamble of the UN Constitution.  He is reminding the international community that the purpose of the UN is not just to ensure peace and security in a purely military sense, but also to be the means, ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom’. The whole UN family of agencies funds and programmes, including WHO, grew out of this commitment. 

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