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Which Leaders Are Holding to Their Health Commitments?

Hamda Yusuf, 36 gets her 7 months old daughter Raqi Hassa vaccinated against Polio. Credit: Meklit Marsha/UNCIEF Ethiopia

The global community comes together this week for the 70th World Health Assembly to discuss how best to safeguard the health of all citizens. Which is the perfect time for Global Citizen  to publish our latest accountability report that reveals which world leaders are following through on their commitments towards tackling the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and a healthier future for all.

Global Citizen believes that health is the cornerstone to achieving the SDGs for a world without extreme poverty by 2030. If we can’t reach a child with a 13-cent vaccine, how can we possibly go on to tackle more significant development challenges? Indeed,our longest-running campaign is health focused, and in the six years that Global Citizen has called on governments and corporations to deliver strong commitments to health, we have seen pledges totaling $8.2 billion which will go toward improving the lives of 626 million people by 2030.

That achievement is in no small part due to the 1.47 million actions Global Citizens have taken on the issue and to the invaluable work of our many partners. To name a few: The World Bank, Gavi: the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary International, UNICEF, the Caterpillar Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Johnson & Johnson.

Yet these commitments mean nothing if they are not followed through on. Which is why in November 2016 Global Citizen released our first accountability report on health commitments. And today marks the launch of our biannual update — which takes a specific focus on commitments and announcements found to be most at risk in the report published in November as well as detailing on how we’re doing on a number of new commitments.

We are pleased to report that of the additional and new commitments reported on for the first time, one has completed— exceeding expectations, four are on track, and two are too soon to tell.

What still remains a concern, though, is whether or not Australia will allocate additional funding to polio eradication following its decision in 2015 to reallocate existing funding to other priority areas.

We are also calling on Dr. Tedros Adhamon, if elected Secretary-General of the WHO to speak out for investment in community health workers and health care systems for developing nations, where community health workers are the frontline defence against preventable and endemic diseases. We're watching the recent ebola case in DRC to see how this outbreak is managed. We also look to Japan and the G7 to make their commitment on Universal Health Coverage a reality.

And even with commitments that are on course for completion, we cannot get complacent in these uncertain times of shifting political landscapes and isolationist policies that threaten the safety of our planet.

So who is keeping their promises to help stop the next pandemic that could wreak havoc on our interconnected world, the deaths of 830 mothers each day during childbirth and the 1.5 million deaths from vaccine preventable diseases every year? Check out the report here to find out now.