Sustainable Development Health Goals
The Millennium Development Goals prevented nearly 59 million deaths from disease. Upon their culmination in 2015, the era of Sustainable Development Goals began further improving welfare.

The Sustainable Development Health Goals are capacious: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.” They are deeply integrated with several of the other 16 poverty-fighting goals. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the cyclical links between poverty and poor health, which is why it aims to build healthcare infrastructure, offering universal healthcare to all people everywhere.

The WHO recently released an article explaining the cost of achieving this. Beginning in 2017, $134 billion per year is needed. By the end of the Sustainable Development era in 2030, the annual budget would ideally rise to $371 billion. This figure factors in people gradually living longer and having improved health.

What would the world receive in exchange of this price tag? Below are 14 targets of the Sustainable Development Health Goals:

  1. End the AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases epidemics.
  2. Improve prevention and treatment for non-communicable diseases and ultimately reduce premature deaths.
  3. Halve the amount of traffic accident deaths.
  4. Provide universal access to family planning, sexual and reproductive health.
  5. Obtain universal healthcare for everyone, including access to medications and vaccines.
  6. Reduce deaths caused by pollution.
  7. Increase the WHO’s work against tobacco use.
  8. Support research developing vaccines and medicines needed in developing countries.
  9. Increase health financing.
  10. Increase a well-trained healthcare workforce.
  11. Improve early warning systems throughout the world.
  12. Reduce maternal mortality to below 0.07 percent.
  13. Reduce newborn deaths to below 1.2 percent.
  14. Reduce the under-five mortality to below 2.5 percent.

Reaching such objectives will take extensive work and funding. Most of the funding is needed for building healthcare infrastructure, increasing the workforce and buying new equipment. While 85 percent of governments can afford the institutional changes needed, some of the poorest countries will struggle and need development aid. Unfortunately, the world is not currently on track to complete the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Health Goals can create a world where no one becomes impoverished because of medical bills and everyone obtains globally accepted best practices for treatment. This world will have than 23 million more healthcare workers and 415,000 more healthcare facilities. In 2030, the population would see 81 million more life-years of good health.

Realistically, the investment needed is small. To attain everything listed here, to prevent 97 million premature deaths, it would only cost $58 per person, per year. Healthy years and years lived would be gained worldwide.

Mary Katherine Crowley