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Development Framework (Health)

Volume 579: debated on Wednesday 9 April 2014

The UK has played a central role in developing successor development goals to the millennium development goals, including through my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s co-chairmanship of the UN high-level panel. We want to see progress across the board on health, particularly on maternal and child health. We want a dedicated health goal, and articulated and measured health outcomes targets.

Despite ongoing global commitments, 40 million women gave birth without the assistance of a midwife last year, and families living in the poorest parts of the world are twice as likely to lose their babies as those in the richest nations. Will the Secretary of State use her influence to ensure that there are targets for ending preventable child, maternal and newborn deaths in the post-2015 framework, and to call for universal health coverage and universal access to midwifery?

We are supportive of universal health coverage, which is one of the key means that can improve health outcomes. The hon. Gentleman is quite right to raise the issue of maternal health. We look across the board at how we can do that, including in relation to family planning and what we are doing this summer to combat child and early marriage, which is one reason why maternal health is poor. We will continue to work really hard on that whole agenda.

Great gains have been made under the millennium development goals in the areas of malaria, neglected tropical diseases, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Can my right hon. Friend reassure me that the goals that we will push for post-2015 will ensure that those gains will be maintained and, indeed, enhanced?

Yes, I can. In fact, we want HIV, TB and malaria to be incorporated under a health goal. My hon. Friend will be aware that the UK was one of the leading donors at the global fund replenishment at the end of last year, and will continue to support that important work.

Further to that answer, will the Secretary of State confirm that the Government will commit to the opportunity identified by the “Malaria No More” campaign to halve malaria deaths again—they have already been halved since 2000—by 2020, and back the proposals to accelerate the reduction in the death rate to zero beyond 2020?

We do want malaria to be eradicated. It is one of the key issues African leaders raise in relation not just to its impact on individuals and families, but its economic impact. The recent Bali World Trade Organisation deal was worth about $10 billion a year to the African economy—that is also the cost of malaria every year regionally.