chapter  10
15 Pages

Millennium Development Goal 6: AIDS and the International Health Agenda

WithNicoli Nattrass

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed in 2001 as a tool for focusing attention on, and mobilizing resources for, development. Yet in the case of MDG 6, “to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases”, significant international mobilization was already taking place around HIV/AIDS, and in this respect MDG 6 both reflected and supported an expanding infectious disease and broader health agenda. This paper begins with a discussion of one of the intellectual origins of MDG 6-that is, the idea of

“health as development”—and then focuses on the subsequent international mobilization around HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment (ART). The paper argues that the international AIDS response was unique in the way that it mobilized funding and forged broader initiatives and coalitions to improve access to medicines, thereby contributing to MDG 8, “building partnerships for development”. Through ART and mother-to-child transmission prevention (MTCTP) interventions and support for health system strengthening, this paper contributed also to MDGs 4 and 5 (maternal and child health) in high HIV-prevalence regions. The paper concludes by emphasizing that the AIDS response was successful because of the unique combination of international and grass-roots organizations and that this has implications for the post-2015 health agenda. The UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons

Vol. 15, Nos. 2-3, 232-246,

(HLP) recommends setting country-level health targets to achieve universal quality healthcare post 2015. Targets can help citizens hold governments to account by providing a focus for mobilization and a yardstick to measure progress. However, continued international institutional support and data collection of the kind pioneered by UNAIDS is argued to be necessary to maintain and broaden civil society mobilization around health.