This goal is probably more important than ever this year. The pandemic is highlighting the fragility of the global health system. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 is to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.’
The targets range from lowering global maternity mortality rates to reducing road accidents. There are 13 targets with many of them linking to other goals. In fact, overall there are 59 health-related indicators across the 17 SDGs. It is a critical and broad ranging goal to explore. I am going to look at a few global trends as well as a spotlight on mental health.
- 3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less that 70 per 100 000 live births
- 3.2 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 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births
- 3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical disease 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 wellbeing
- 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 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 Organisation 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 proved 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
Now that’s a list and a half of targets!
Progress to date
Infant mortality rates
According to the World Health Organisation, since 2000, the risk of a child dying before their fifth birthday halved in the African region. This is due, in part, to gains made in vaccination coverage for specific diseases. However we can see that under-5 mortality remains a significant problem in Africa. Their rate is more than eight times higher than the European region in 2018.
World Health Organisation also discusses the shifts in Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). They are primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Interventions that reduce environmental, metabolic and behavioural risk factors – air pollution, tobacco use, obesity, hypertension, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption – could reduce the risk.
Overall alcohol consumption and obesity are on the increase. However, tobacco use is on the decrease. This is largely due to global policy changes, public health campaigns and education across countries.
Australia a leader in tobacco consumption reduction
For years, Australia has led the world in anti-tobacco campaigning, policy and strategies. I remember when I went to Europe for the first time when I turned 18. It was so common for people to smoke in restaurants. I couldn’t believe it as that was illegal in Australia!
In 2017, the World Health Organisation released a report highlighting Australia’s global leadership in this space.
The report shared Australia as one of the countries with the highest achieving or best practice for:
- Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies.
- Having comprehensive smoke-free legislation – with special recognition of Sydney’s laws.
- Offering quit support for people who smoke.
- Implementing health warning labels on tobacco product.
- Running sustained anti-tobacco mass media campaigns.
Global Funding for Research and Development
Last month, the World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there needs to be a 10 fold investment in research and development for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“For the vaccines alone, over $100 billion [$AU140 billion] will be needed,” he said. “This sounds like lot of money and it is. But it’s small in comparison to the $10 trillion that has already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the pandemic so far.”
Just to put that dollar figure into some context, Jeff Bezo’s net worth recently surpassed $200 billion…
A Spotlight Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mental health is such an important part of our personal wellbeing. Mindfulness, regular exercise and health eating are helpful for increasing mental health. However, this year I have to admit that I have not invested in these practices. Over the past few weeks I’ve been really burnt out with work and the lack of social life. I need to get back to these practices, particularly focusing on developing mindfulness.
The Resilience Project
I recently started doing the Resilience Project’s 21 day wellbeing journal. Their simple journal provides opportunity to reflect on gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. It only takes about 10 minutes per day. I’ve found it a great way to start the day and helps me to build more positive framing for the day ahead.
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Well 2020, I had a chat with myself and you’re out of the group!!! It’s been a minute between post and tbh motivation to blog this year has been at an all time low. Trying to smash out my full time job and stay sane has been my main focus. To get motivated again, I’ve decided to blog about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals over the next 17 weeks. This week I’m on SDG:3 good health and wellbeing. Thinking of my mental health and wellbeing this year I am super thankful for @theresilienceproject and @lonelykidsclub69 who are amazing mental health advocates. I’m currently doing the Resilience Project’s 21 day well-being journal and it’s really helping me to focus on gratitude, empathy and mindfulness in this year of chaos!! LKC’s wonderful brand provided me with the comfiest trackies and tops for this year of being home bound. Check out SDG 3 on planetb.com.au and read more about the resilience project and my love for LKC!! Keep well legends!
Side note, Lonely Kids Club are an awesome local slow fashion brand. They bring me so much joy with their classic designs. I’ve spent most of this year wearing their super comfy trackies and tops. They have a wonderful brand that focuses on building positive mental health messages. Check out their brand online and on Instagram!
Mullets for Mental Health
The Black Dog Institute are Australia’s only medical research institute investigating mental health across the lifespan. They are leading the research and translation of mental health research into meaningful outcomes. Their focus is on early detection, prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.
For September, they have a campaign called ‘Mullets for Mental Health.’ They are calling on people to grow a mullet in September to raise money for mental health research. Raising funds alongside bringing back an iconic hairstyle is incredibly important work! Check out their website here and make a donation if you see any ripper mullets out and about!!
If we are to achieve this massive list of targets by 2030, we need to come together and work at a local and global level to make change. Investing in health and wellbeing involves a mix of Government action, policy change and investment in research and development. We all have a role to play in supporting global health efforts. Whether its looking after ourselves, checking in on your friend or donating to global health charities, every bit counts.