Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Health is a driver, indicator and outcome of sustainable development. Healthy people are better able to contribute to the development of their countries. The world has made great progress against several of the leading causes of death and disease. Life expectancy has increased dramatically; infant and maternal mortality have declined; we have turned the tide on the HIV epidemic, and malaria deaths have halved.

The 2030 Agenda reflects and responds to the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of health and development, including widening economic and social inequalities, rapid urbanization, threats to the climate and the environment, the continuing burden of HIV and other infectious diseases and emerging health challenges such as noncommunicable diseases. SDG 3—to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”—and nearly 50 targets across 14 goals are critical to ensuring health and wellbeing for all. Universal health coverage, based on the principles of equity, access and quality, will be integral to achieving SDG 3, ending poverty and reducing inequalities. Emerging global health priorities not explicitly included in the SDGs, including antimicrobial resistance, also demand action.

But the world is off-track to achieve the health-related SDGs. Progress has been uneven, both between and within countries. There remains a 31-year discrepancy between the countries with the shortest and longest life expectancies. While some countries have made impressive gains, national averages hide the fact that some populations, groups and communities are being left behind. Multisectoral, rights-based and gender-sensitive approaches are essential to address health-related inequalities, strengthening inclusive governance and building resilient systems for health.

Facts and figures

400 million

At least 400 million people have no basic health services, and 40% of the world’s people lack social protection.

1.6 billion

More than 1.6 billion people live in fragile settings where protracted crises, combined with weak national capacity to deliver basic health services, present a significant challenge to global health.

15 million

By the end of 2017, 21.7 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Yet more than 15 million people are still waiting for treatment.

2 seconds

Every 2 seconds someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from noncommunicable diseases - cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes or cancer.

7 million

7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air.

1 in 3

More than one of every three women have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their life resulting in both short- and long-term consequences for their physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health.

  • 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 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live 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
  • Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate
  • Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable 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
  • 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
  • Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
SDG 1SDG 2SDG 3SDG 4SDG 5SDG 6SDG 7SDG 8SDG 9SDG 10SDG 11SDG 12SDG 13SDG 14SDG 15SDG 16SDG 17
Goals in action
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