This week, MADRE has been taking a closer look at each Millennium Development Goal in response to the United Nations Summit being held in New York City to discuss the progress of the eight goals. MDG 6 strives to Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases. Its targets are:
- to halt and begin to reverse, by 2015, the spread of HIV/AIDS;
- to achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it; and
- to halt, and begin to reverse, by 2015, the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.
Like the other goals, MDG 6 is another goal that MADRE and our sister organizations have focused on, considering that women are often more at risk for contracting disease and suffering the fatal consequences of the disease due to the deeply embedded structural violence and discrimination women experience around the world. Unfortunately, the MDGs fail to recognize the centrality of eradicating violence against women and ensuring sexual and reproductive rights in combating these diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS.
While the United Nations has documented a decline in new cases of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, they are still far from achieving the targets outlined for 2010 and 2015.
From Our Sister Organizations: Barcenas Women Workers' Committee (Guatemala)
MADRE's program in Guatemala, the Barcenas Health and Dignity Project, is focused on providing Guatemalan women living in the outskirts of Guatemala City with access to basic health care, security, and reproductive health services. Guatemala is facing an epidemic of gender-based violence; in the past decade, 4,000 women and girls have been murdered, many raped and mutilated. The women of Barcenas are faced with violence in the workplace, on the streets, and at home. In response, MADRE and our sister organization, the Barcenas Women Workers' Committee, have set up safe spaces, taught basic safety precuations, and set up health fairs where women receive reproductive health services, Pap smears, vaccinations, and information on health, nutrition, and preventive health care.
As a result, women in Barcenas are able to regain control over their safety and their health after decades of violence and femicide. With a lessened chance of violence and an increased access to health care, the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other diseases is reduced, contributing, therefore, to the aim of MDG 6.
For more information on MDG 6:
In their video on MDG 6 and Botswana, UNIFEM highlights the unique obstacles women and risks women face to securing services for HIV/AIDS: