The global community will soon gather in New York City for the annual United Nations General Assembly. Many important things will be discussed over several days, but none weigh more heavily on me than the millions of children's and women's lives that are at stake if we fail to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the fewer than 850 days remaining.
Last week the New York Times Editorial Board published a powerful piece calling for continued focus on the health MDGs as an essential foundation for any agenda going forward. I was very pleased that they came out with such a powerful endorsement of our view that we cannot take our eye off of our targets or work any less hard if we are to achieve our goals. Please read the excellent New York Times editorial here.
Of further interest and grave importance, last week UNICEF released its progress report on child mortality, Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. This report delivers a sobering message that should reverberate across the global-health landscape: We must launch a campaign in partnership with the affected countries like no other campaign before if we hope to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on Child Mortality, MDG 4, by December 31, 2015 and save the lives of 3.5 million more children whom we have no reason to lose. If interested, please read the exceptional UNICEF report for a powerful view into the work we have ahead of us.
I applaud Tony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, for his leadership and for his personal refusal to permit complacency to dull our shared resolve. His call for urgency echoes the sentiments expressed at the highest levels within the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, WHO, UNFPA and many other nations and agencies.
We possess the collective will, the effective treatments and the combined assets to surmount the once-in-a-generation challenge of ending preventable child deaths. We now need the entire world to join us, led by those nations most affected.