The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 17, 2008

US/UK Announcement on Health and Health Workers

     Fact sheet In Focus: Global Diplomacy
     Fact sheet President Bush Participates in Joint Press Availability with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom

In July 2007 we joined together with leaders from 14 countries to revisit our commitment to meet the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration. Both developing and developed nations need to mobilize our individual and collective efforts toward the 2015 goals.

We are committed to reducing maternal mortality by three quarters, and under-five child mortality by two thirds, of their rates in 1990. But we know that to save more lives we need stronger health care and institutions in developing countries. And for that, a sustainable health workforce is critical.

In this regard, the United States and United Kingdom have committed to work together, alongside other partners, to fight diseases and support stronger health systems, public and private-sector health institutions, and health workers. Today, we are demonstrating this commitment in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia -- four countries that the United Kingdom is supporting through the International Health Partnership and the United States is supporting through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other activities. In these four countries, the United Kingdom is planning to spend at least $420 million on health, including the health workforce, over the next three years, and the United States is planning to invest at least $1.2 billion over five years on health workforce development.

It is also why we call on the G8 and others to support partner countries to increase health workforce coverage levels, with a view to work towards the World Health Organization goal of at least 2.3 health workers per 1,000 people. This will allow a substantially higher percentage of women to give birth with a skilled attendant present and will also allow a greater number of health workers to provide essential health care, including for HIV/AIDS.

By putting in place this foundation for stronger health, we also build upon existing initiatives, including to address the issue of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Approximately one billion people, mostly in the developing world, suffer from one or more NTDs. Building upon the President's announcement in February, the United Kingdom will support this effort to control or eliminate seven major NTDs. We will challenge other donors, including our G8 partners, foundations, and public, private, and voluntary organizations to meet the balance of this need to have a positive affect on the lives of hundreds of millions people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Since before the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, the United States and United Kingdom have been scaling up their aid for health. The international community as a whole must do more, including by meeting the commitment made by the G8 at Heiligendamm to provide $60 billion in aid for health. We can only achieve our goals by working together more effectively, and by providing more, and more effective resources for health.

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