Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

April 19, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is throwing progress even further off track. The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases is causing a significant loss of life and overwhelming many health systems. Essential health services and lifesaving interventions are being disrupted. People are unable or afraid to go to health-care facilities to seek services such as check-ups, vaccinations and even urgent medical care. This could have potentially fatal consequences and threatens to reverse decades of improvements in health outcomes.

In many countries, the outbreak is also triggering an alarm in terms of preparedness for health emergencies and immunization services. This is particularly true for countries where health systems are unable to cope with the surge in demand due to the lack of health-care workers, medical equipment and supplies.

Achieving universal health coverage remains a global challenge. Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It includes the full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. The pandemic is highlighting the existing shortage of health professionals in many countries, particularly in regions with the highest burden of disease. Over 40 per cent of all countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people; over 55 per cent of countries have fewer than 40 nursing and midwifery personnel per 10,000 people (https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-03/).

In order to accelerate progress and address new health challenges, all actors, including the private sector need to partner to develop health care solutions that work for people, families, communities and nations. Small, medium and large companies can both benefit from and contribute to achieving healthy societies. The SDGs provide a new opportunity for the private sector to support the delivery of health needs around the world through their products, services and business activities including value chains and distribution networks, communication activities, occupational health and safety practices and provision of employee benefits.

Read more: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal3