Health

Extract from the Mauritius Strategy - Chapter XVII, paras 75-78

75. Health is a key determinant of sustainable development as identified through the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. The strengthening and further development of cooperation and experience-sharing among Small Island developing States in the area of health is crucial and should be made a priority. A major concern in Small Island developing States is the increasing incidence of such health challenges as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, drug resistant malarial strains, dengue, severe acute respiratory syndrome, West Nile Virus, bird flu and other new and emerging diseases, and nutritional disorders, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, and their impact on sustainable development.

76. Small Island developing States are also committed, with the necessary support of the international community, to addressing HIV/AIDS, which is prevalent in many countries. In addition to its impact on individuals and families, HIV/AIDS is particularly devastating for countries with small populations and limited skilled workforces, taking a severe toll on their economies as productivity declines, income levels are reduced and the social fabric is undermined. Responding effectively to HIV/AIDS is both an urgent health issue and a development imperative.

77. Other communicable and non-communicable diseases will continue to have a significant impact on the health of small island developing States communities for the foreseeable future. Further, the experience of many regions has shown that failure to effectively control such diseases as HIV/AIDS will have substantial negative impacts on future sustainable development in all Small Island development States.

78. Further action is required by small island developing States, with the necessary support of the international community, to effectively control these diseases through:

(a) Strengthening the health management and financing systems of small island developing States to enable them to arrest the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reduce the incidence of malaria, dengue and non-communicable diseases, and promote mental health;

5b) Technical assistance, bilaterally or through multilateral cooperation agencies, to facilitate prompt access to funds from the Global Fund to Combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is a major instrument to combat these infectious diseases, thereby supporting the sustainable development of small island developing States;

(c) Enhanced accessibility to effective pharmaceutical drugs at affordable prices;

(d) The active implementation of healthy public policy and effective prevention programmes in such areas as immunization, reproductive health, mental health and health education;

(e) The development and implementation of effective surveillance initiatives at the local national and regional levels;

(f) The facilitation of early information-sharing on possible emerging outbreaks nationally and internationally;

(g) Preparedness of countries and regional organizations to respond rapidly and effectively to outbreaks (whether naturally occurring or intentional), requiring the development and regular testing of response plans, the strengthening of response capacity and the identification of resources which can be accessed quickly;

(h) The development and implementation of modern, flexible national public health legislation;

(i) Promoting the development of traditional medicines, including medicinal plants;

(j) The implementation of targeted environmental health programmes that prevent the ill health of small island developing States populations, such as waste management, control of air pollution and improved water quality;

(k) Enhanced data collection on demographic and epidemiological trends.

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