Remarkable progress has been made in the field of health since the 1990s. According to the UN, “maternal mortality has fallen by almost 50% since 1990”, similarly, 83% of mothers in developing regions were receiving antenatal care in 2012 in comparison to 65% in 1990. Teenage pregnancies have decreased in developing regions, as preservatives are more widely used today than in the 1990s. Moreover, access to retroviral therapy is easier now than it was then and new HIV infections among children have declined by roughly 60% since 2001. A summary of other achievements is listed in this article by the United Nations, and while they are significant, there is still room for growth.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks a future where longevity is commonplace and children deaths are a rarity. It aims for the eradicating epidemics, neglected tropical diseases and improving people’s access to health-care, water sanitation and clean living spaces in order to tackle this issue at the root. These targets are contemplated in Global Goal 3, listed in the Agenda as follows:
GLOBAL GOAL 3: HEALTHY LIVING AND WELL BEING
- By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
- By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 births.
- By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
- By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
- Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
- By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
- 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.
- Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
- By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
The Agenda contemplates general guidelines to achieving these targets and ensuring the eradication of several illnesses and a drastic reduction in neonatal, premature and maternal deaths by 2030. The four guidelines are listed as follows:
- Strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.
- 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.
- Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries.
- Strengthen the capacity of all countries in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.
Strengthening the health-care system and making it available to all people, especially the poor and those in vulnerable condition sets the pillars for a healthier global society and ensures that no men, women or children will face an untimely death due to lack of access to the medicines they so direly need or basic sanitation practices.