A Cost–Benefit Approach
Chapter 6: What is Wrong with Setting the Particular MDG Targets?
6. What is wrong with setting the particular MDG targets? We have just examined the weaknesses of targets in general terms. Let us now look at problems in detail with Target 7 of the MDGs. Recall that this wanted to “Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/ AIDS” (see Chapter 5). Even the task force set up by the UN to recommend strategies for implementing the MDGs asked the question, “What does ‘halting the spread of HIV/AIDS’ mean and how will we know when it has been achieved?” (UN Millennium Project, 2005, pp. 24–6). It points out that if one takes a literal interpretation, that is, bringing the number of new infections to zero, the target is unsatisfactory for two reasons. It is not feasible to achieve this by 2015 and it focuses solely on prevention and sets no target for treating those already with HIV. The criticism that Target 7 ignores treatment is obviously valid and warrants no further discussion. So let us examine the feasibility issue further. FEASIBILITY AS AN ECONOMIC ISSUE The only sure way to ensure that there are no new cases of HIV is to have a vaccine that is 100 percent effective and that this vaccine is given to everyone. As of 2009, such a vaccine does not exist. If it did exist, there is no way that the world’s population will all have been vaccinated by 2015, given that the BCG vaccination for TB already exists and...
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