I started to shake with chills, my face became flushed, my temperature soared. The persistent dry coughing I had been experiencing, which I had ascribed to allergies, became intense and, at times, painful. It was Friday the 13th and my luck had turned. It all happened so quickly, as if a switch had been turned from off to on. It was less than two weeks from the first reported case of COVID-19 in New York City.
There is no question that the greatest health achievements under the Millennium Development Goals have focused on single diseases. Arresting the spread of HIV and AIDS and malaria is perhaps the most significant development success of the new century. And vaccination, especially of measles, is one of the reasons that deaths among older children have fallen faster than deaths among infants or women during pregnancy and childbirth.
In contrast, the lowest-performing areas across all eight MDGs — reducing infant and maternal deaths — are targets that don’t lend themselves to a single disease strategy. Just six countries have met the MDG target for reducing infant deaths, and only 15 countries have achieved the target for reducing maternal deaths.
Could these targets have actually been achieved if we had pursued an integrated approach to advancing the health of women and children? Did our fascination with and confidence in the segregation of single-disease initiatives cost us achievement in other areas requiring more complex solutions?
Read the remainder of the blog here.