Goal 3 aims to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. While there has been significant improvement in global health in the last two decades, further progress is needed. For example, the global rate of maternal mortality decreased 44% between 1990 and 2015, yet most maternal deaths are preventable. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 53% of live births are accompanied by expert care during delivery. Globally, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the biggest cause of death, responsible for 70% of all deaths. However, more than half of all deaths in low-income countries are due to communicable diseases, nutritional deficiencies and conditions arising during pregnancy or childbirth.
Neonatal mortality is highest in Central and Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services are major risk factors for infectious diseases and mortality. Death rates in these regions due to these factors were two to four times that of the global average. In addition, the incidence of HIV infection remains highest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Opportunities & Challenges
While health funding has increased since 2005, rising rates of NCDs and compounding factors result in a lack of adequate healthcare and poor health conditions. Addressing this will require extending access to health information and personnel as well as improving funding models.
Several key changes required include: Increased access to healthcare workers; Insufficient doctor and healthcare worker density is a problem in many parts of the world, limiting progress towards universal access to healthcare.
Improved sanitation: Rapidly growing cities could further strain overburdened systems and spread infectious diseases. Educating communities on how infections spread has significant potential to improve health outcomes. Improving water treatment infrastructure will also help improve sanitation and water quality conditions.
New investment models and tools for funding: Collaborative models such as impact investing or public-private partnerships will be crucial to access healthcare funding required to meet Goal 3.
Reducing environmental toxicity: An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year (nearly one in four of total deaths) are attributable to unhealthy environments. In the coming years, climate change poses a significant health challenge. Building more efficient infrastructure, transport and manufacturing systems can help reduce pollutants in the air, water and soil, in turn reducing the risk of both non-communicable and infectious diseases.
Improved nutrition: A lack of access to nutritious foods is a key contributor to poor health (see Goal 2 for more discussion).
The amount of information we now have at a molecular level is changing the way we look at medicine.Dr Maria Freire, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
In developing markets, technology enables the health workforce to be registered; this can support quick and effective deployment of resources, as well as access to training and information.Leslie-Anne Long, PATH
Low power technology is starting to enable the collection and utilization of the mass of continuous data which our bodies provide. having access to new, richer, real-time information we couldn’t collect before will enable the healthcare industry to deliver faster, more effective treatment – provided we can continue to develop the infrastructure required to support it.Peter Ferguson, Arm
The biggest obstruction to reaching SDG 3 is the need for new ways of working and moving beyond traditional pharmaceutical business models.Anne Gaadegard, Novo Nordisk
the biggest healthcare challenge which technology will need to tackle by 2030 is the interaction between climate change and health.Jody Ranck, RAM Group
Technology in action
Telemedicine and mobile health (or m-health) solutions have proven successful in extending care, new payment models and health-related information to remote areas. In the US, Mercy Health Systems has built a Virtual Care Center, staffed by hundreds of healthcare providers, that provides telehealth services across four states. In Andhra Pradesh in India, the non-profit Health Management and Research Institute provides an internet-based video system that allows pregnant women to consult obstetricians and gynecologists in the city of Hyderabad. This has raised the rate of safe deliveries by 50%.
AI and machine learning will be crucial for analysis of the vast amounts of health data generated through connected devices to enable practitioners to make informed care decisions. IBM’s Medical Sieve is an imageguided informatics system which is designed to assist in clinical decision making and efficiency in patient treatment. Deep Mind is working with NHS UK to roll out its Streams app which uses AI to pick up on patient warning signals. Growth in the AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021.Get Involved