Bill Gates has suggested that the Millennium Development Goals do not need updating. He is wrong. Here's why: Throughout the world, from Burma to Namibia, Somaliland to Laos, China to Nicaragua, there are communities of people marginalised by the societies in which they live and forgotten by international development organisations.
This week sees the publication of From Promises to Progress, a new report on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a group of 17 infectious diseases that between them affect over 1.4 billion of the poorest people in the world.
Over the years we have seen a lot of good, bad and ugly promises, campaigns and programmes. Some, such as increasing child vaccinations, have been very successful. But in the run up to the finish line for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, we see that we are still way off key targets for women and children.
We know that there is a gap into which a minimum of 200million women fall because their needs for contraception are unmet. Getting condoms, pills and other supplies onto the ground is one essential part of what needs to be done to deal with this. But it is only one side of the coin. If women are to be able to make use of these then we need to also tackle the flip side of the coin - the gender inequality and unequal power relations between men and women which mean that women and girls often cannot decide when or whether they have sex, including whether contraception is used.
Today, I'm speaking at the Pacific Health Summit on the importance of harmonising the regulation of diagnostic tests. Having worked in diagnostics for over 20 years, it's frustrating to see people dying for the lack of a simple diagnostic test when tests such as those for HIV have revolutionised our approach to healthcare.