The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Series: Goal 3

SDG3Goal Three: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

SDG Three serves as the health-focused goal and as a combination of three separate Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that focused on health-related outcomes: Goal 4 on child mortality; Goal 5 on maternal mortality; and Goal 6 on HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. As with the last two SDGs, this is meant to be a more all encompassing version of its predecessors from the MDGs. This is accomplished in the goal’s inclusion of mental health, substance abuse, road traffic accidents, and pollution, among others, in its targets (see all proposed targets below). Africa achieved impressive results in combating child mortality and the prevalence of HIV/Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis in the last 15 years. Maternal mortality, on the other hand, remains a challenge, although the current efforts in place are likely to lead to a significant reduction in maternal deaths in the coming years.

As mentioned, this goal includes more than the standard measures of health that were included in the MDGs. For example, there is an emphasis on preventing and treating substance abuse. There is also a reference to mental health, something many developing countries are struggling with, as there are generally not enough relevant medical personnel. In Africa, according to WHO statistics from 2011, the psychiatrist-to-patient ratio is less than 1 to 100,000, with 70% of African countries allocating less than 1% of the total health budget to mental health.

Proposed Targets:

3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age

3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well being

3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol

3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial and risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination

3.a  Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate

3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

3.c Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States

3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks

Useful Links:

MDG Report 2015 – Lessons learned in implementing the MDGs

CAI Discussion Paper: The Silent Crisis – Mental Health in Africa

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