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The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Keeping Our Focus on the Worst Off

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  • Clinical Center Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Non-communicable diseases now account for the majority of the global burden of disease and an international campaign has emerged to raise their priority on the post-2015 development agenda. We argue, to the contrary, that there remain strong reasons to prioritize maternal and child health. Policy-makers ought to assign highest priority to the health conditions that afflict the worst off. In virtue of how little healthy life they have had, children who die young are among the globally worst off. Moreover, many interventions to deal with the conditions that cause mortality in the young are low-cost and provide great benefits to their recipients. Consistent with the original Millennium Development Goals, the international community should continue to prioritize reductions in communicable diseases, neonatal conditions, and maternal health despite the shifts in the global burden of disease.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Joseph Millum, Clinical Center Department of Bioethics and Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 1C118, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892. E-mail: joseph.millum@nih.gov

Authors' addresses: Daniel Sharp, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria, E-mail: sharpdaniele@gmail.com. Joseph Millum, Clinical Center Department of Bioethics and Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, E-mail: millumj@cc.nih.gov.

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