Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

MacroHealth Newsletter

No. 9, May 2004

NEWS ..... NEWS ..... NEWS ..... NEWS ..... NEWS

Briefing on PRSPs at the World Health Assembly

A briefing on Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) took place on 20 May as a part of the WHO's Fifth-Seventh World Health Assembly. The session included presentations and remarks by Jan Vandemoortele, Leader of the Poverty Group at the United Nations Development Programme, H.E. Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Health of Ghana, and representatives from an NGO, the World Bank, and WHO. The Macroeconomics and Health process in countries was addressed during the discussions. Country delegates were invited to attend the workshop and to refer to their country experiences on the topic, including Macroeconomics and Health work.

Mongolian CMH Report launched; Vietnamese now available

The inauguration of the Mongolian translation of the Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health was held in Ulaanbaatar on 25 March 2004. Participants at the event, which was organized by the Ministry of Health of Mongolia, included the Minister of Health and representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the WHO country office in Mongolia. The CMH Report is also now available in Vietnamese. To order either publication, please see

New report highlights threat of cardiovascular disease in developing countries

Cardiovascular disease is gaining momentum in developing countries, says a new report, and the problem will worsen as populations age and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, continue to rise. The report, released on 26 April 2004, was sponsored by Colombia University's Earth Institute and others. Entitled "A Race Against Time: The Challenge of Cardiovascular Disease in Developing Economies", the report suggests that greater efforts are needed to prevent cardiovascular disease. In particular, it recommended a reduction in tobacco production and consumption, strategies to improve nutrition, including food production subsidies, and education strategies, including school programmes on healthy nutrition and physical activity. The report follows on from the work of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, seeking to integrate cardiovascular diseases into the health and development framework advocated by the CMH Report. To view the report, please visit [pdf 1.1Mb].

Mobilizing science for sustainable development

Enabling the poor to meet their basic needs for energy, food, health, and water, and achieving development while protecting the world's ecosystems, are the development and sustainability challenges, said scientists at a Columbia University conference in March 2004. The two-day conference, entitled "State of the Planet 04: Mobilizing the Sciences to Fight Global Poverty", aimed to provide policy- makers and the public with a scientific perspective on critical areas of sustainable development. Participants identified areas for priority action and new research initiatives needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals poverty reduction targets. This supports the aim of identifying paths of sustainable development for both the developed and developing world.

In the area of health, participants recommended a significant rise in health spending in developing countries, including a large increase in external funding. Strengthening health systems, including efforts to ease the human resources crisis in the health sector, will be key to improving the health of the poor. The conference statement concluded in its overall recommendations that rich countries must help poor countries escape poverty, and both rich and poor countries must work together to develop new technologies in energy systems, food production, health care, and water management, and ensure they are utilized. Furthermore, participants concluded that government leadership and regulation will be essential to ensure that social costs and benefits are aligned, and that multilateral approaches are needed to produce global solutions.

Meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Government delegates, including a number of Ministers, meeting at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development's Twelfth Session (CSD-12) from 14 to 30 April 2004 stressed the need to speed up efforts to deliver safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and shelter for the poor. The meeting, which took place in New York at the United Nations, reviewed progress on targets set at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development said that the international community is not on track to meet the agreed goals and called for a "decade of implementation" to do so. Several issues addressed included the need for increased Official Development Aid, the importance of integrating water and sanitation in PRSPs, the potential benefit of public-private partnerships, and the need for global responsibility for water resources.

The Commission on Sustainable Development was created in 1992. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, held ten years later in Johannesburg, South Africa, reiterated the initial mandate and functions of the Commission as a high-level forum on sustainable development, and set targets which include and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For more information, please see