Good Health & Well-Being targets set by the United Nations (UN) had been making progress, until the crisis of COVID-19 in 2020. With this came disruptions in health care, increases in anxiety and depression, decreases in global life expectancy, and a rise in tuberculosis and malaria. Richer and poorer countries were both hit with this health emergency, pushing many into bankruptcy or poverty. Poorer countries were suffering especially, as they may have more insufficient health facilities, or not enough health care workers for the sudden demand.
Healthy people are the foundation for healthy economies.United Nations, 2020
Labor Market and Economy
The economy, and in turn, the labor market, was also hit during the pandemic, as many jobs were terminated and many small businesses closed down. Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) statistics showed that over 50 million jobs were lost to the pandemic in 2020.
Though we are in the process of recovery and businesses are picking back up again, many people are still experiencing unemployment and difficulties finding a “decent job”. According to the UN, “Decent Work” means “opportunities for everyone to get work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration”.
Rise in Health Care Demand
Estimates reveal that due to the pandemic overwhelming the health systems globally, at least 18 million more healthcare workers are needed to achieve the 2030 targets. This influx of workers is especially necessary for lower-income countries. However, essential services in 90% of countries were suspended in order to save resources for COVID patients and reduce transmission of the virus. Also, between 2020 and 2021, over 115,00 healthcare workers’ lives were claimed worldwide due to the virus.
During the pandemic’s peak, healthcare workers were experiencing many challenges, such as increased work hours, little to no vacation time, drastic changes in methods of delivering care and so on. There was also an increase in feelings of stress, burnout and workers intending to leave the field or change their job. Their mental health was severely impacted, on top of the stress and challenges in their work. These workers were also witnessing first-hand the effects of the virus on patients as well as the patients’ loved ones.
In order to make progress toward these Good Health & Well-Being goals, governments must be held accountable for their commitments in the health sector, and make it more accessible.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health & Well-Being
The United Nations developed SDG 3 and its targets to be achieved by 2030. The overall aim of the goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The SDG 3 targets include:
3.1 Reduce maternal mortality – By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
3.2 End all preventable deaths under 5 years of age – 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.
3.3 Fight communicable diseases – By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
3.4 Reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health – By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
3.5 Prevent and treat substance abuse – Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
3.6 Reduce road injuries and deaths – By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
3.7 Universal access to sexual and reproductive care, family planning education – 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 – 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 Reduce illnesses and deaths from hazardous chemicals and pollution – By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
3.A Implement the WHO framework convention on tobacco control – Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.
3.B Support research, development and universal access to affordable vaccines and medicines – 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, provide access to medicines for all.
3.C Increase health financing and support health workforce in developing countries – 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 Improve early warning systems for global health risks – Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.
EnvironFocus is hosting a webinar event on SDG 3, on Thursday, February 16th, 2023. The event will go from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM EST and is titled “Social Impact: People, Planet, Profit”. We will be joined by expert guest panelists, Helena Holland & Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa. Panel presentations will be followed by a live Q&A session, and is completely FREE. Register now HERE.
The Global Goals. (2023). Goal 3 Good Health and Well-Being. https://www.globalgoals.org/goals/3-good-health-and-well-being/
Statistics Canada. (2022). Experiences of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, September to November 2021. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220603/dq220603a-eng.htm
United Nations. (2020). Decent Work and Economic Growth: Why it Matters [PDF]. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/8_Why-It-Matters-2020.pdf
United Nations. (2020). Good Health and Well-Being: Why it Matters [PDF]. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/3_Why-It-Matters-2020.pdf
United Nations. (2022). Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/