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WHO Identifies Key Health Issues for Post-2015 Development Agenda

WHOOctober 2012: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a discussion paper identifying issues to be considered in the context of potential global health goals for the post-2015 agenda. The paper suggests universal health coverage (UHC) as an inclusive umbrella for addressing these issues.

The paper notes that post-2015 goals should build on progress achieved under the framework of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while future goals and indicators need to: be framed as global challenges rather than aspirations for developing countries; ensure policy coherence; and take a strategic approach. The paper also underlines that progress towards health-related MDGs must be sustained beyond 2015.

With regard to the future global health agenda, the paper notes: the need to address the emerging challenge of non-communicable diseases without disregarding other priorities; the need for an increasing focus on "means as well as ends" of global health policy, including health as a human right, health equity and health security; and the need to adopt a broader perspective on health. The paper also notes that health is both a contributor to poverty reduction and a beneficiary of sustainable development policies in other sectors.

The paper then explores the potential for using UHC in the post-2015 agenda as a way to accommodate these concerns, noting that UHC: is a dynamic process, rather than a minimum package of measures; requires a strong efficient health system; sustains gains and protects investments in health; and can accommodate the changing global health agenda.

Finally, the paper addresses the challenge of developing a system of indicators and targets that can be adapted to individual country circumstances, and the need to develop a measure for "healthy life expectancy" rather than life expectancy alone, in order to reflect progress on all aspects of human health. [Publication: Positioning Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: WHO Discussion Paper]