We might generally try to be healthy but are we really aware of all the wider influences which impact our lives? We sometimes forget that the services we have available are in the hands of national governments and professional organisations.
The FIGO conference reminded us all that we must care about each other if we want to be healthy- no woman is an island in this vast world.

Since September 2000 the international focus on health care has been on 8 key goals, with world leaders signing the UN Millennium Declaration at that time. These 8 goals have formed the cornerstone of international partnerships in improving health and welfare across the globe. They have attracted the majority of investment and resources.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) number 1 to 8, and set out specific technical targets and measures which must be reached if we are to impact the global crisis of poverty and lack in any meaningful way.


The 8 MDG’s are as follows:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development


In 2005 South Africa announced that we were well on the way to meeting these goals but the picture in 2009 is vastly different.  Local experts now know that MDG’s 4 and 5 will not be reached as expected. Shockingly children in South Africa die at a faster rate today than they did in the year 2000.

The possibility of a single National Health Service (similar to the United Kingdom’s NHS), is currently being debated in parliament, and has recently made the news. This is because one of the main causes of these deaths is a simple lack of services to the people who need them.

Are we going to be open to radical changes in our health system? We, and our children, are at the most risk when health care is poor. We are being asked to rethink medical aid. To rethink where, how and when we access health care. We are being asked to share more, and to find creative solutions to the widespread problem of limited resources.

Many of us have not thought about being proactive about health care. We haven’t been very aware. But the time will come for us to participate in the health system. Either now while we are still healthy or later- when we suddenly need it ourselves.

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