European Commission and World Health Organisation join forces to accelerate the fight against poverty and work
The European Commission and the World Health Organisation on 2 July 2004 have agreed on a strategic partnership to reinforce their joint efforts to reduce poverty and improve health conditions in developing countries. Particular attention will be given to: improving the health of mothers; reversing the advance of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and strengthening systems for generating information about the performance of health systems.
The overall goal of the partnership is accelerate the fight against poverty and work towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The partnership is particularly expected to deliver on:
- reduction in the death rates among women in pregnancy and child birth;
- accelerating action on communicable diseases such as AIDS and malaria; and
- strengthening systems for generating information about the performance of health care in developing countries.
On signing the partnership European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, Poul Nielson, said "The European Commission places a high priority on improving health in developing countries, and recognises that this is an essential pre-requisite for development. The WHO is uniquely placed as the global leader in heath to support countries in putting in place a basic set of mostly simple but highly effective interventions - such as immunisation - that can make an enormous difference."
The new partnership will enable the Commission and the WHO to further tighten their co-operation. This will involve regular policy dialogue at headquarters level and enhanced collaboration - particularly at country level. The harmonisation of efforts should improve efficiency and play well into efforts of developing countries to assume ownership of the development process.
Co-operation between the EC and WHO in development has become increasingly close in recent years. Most recently the EC has provided €25 million (£16.7m) from the European Development Fund to WHO in support of a joint partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, aimed at improving the accessibility, quality and use of essential medicines. The EC has also made a substantial commitment to the fight against polio in Africa, which is being led by the WHO.