To achieve sustainable development it is essential to guarantee a healthy life and promote the well-being of all at all ages. Great progress has been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the most common causes of death related to infant and maternal mortality. Significant progress has been made in access to clean water and sanitation, in reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Despite this, many more efforts are needed to completely eradicate a wide variety of diseases and address many different health-related issues, whether recent or persistent over time.

Facts and figures

1. Child health

• 17,000 fewer children die every day than in 1990; however, every year more than six million children continue to die before their fifth birthday

• Since 2000, measles vaccines have prevented nearly 15.6 million deaths.

• Despite strong progress globally, a growing portion of child deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Four out of five child deaths occur in these regions

• Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday as children born into wealthier families

• Children of educated mothers – even those who have only completed primary school – are more likely to survive than children of mothers with no education.

2. Maternal health

• Maternal mortality has reduced by almost 50% since 1990

• In East Asia, North Africa and South Asia, maternal mortality has fallen by about two-thirds

• However, the maternal mortality rate – the proportion of mothers who do not survive birth compared to mothers who do survive – in developing regions is still 14 times higher than the maternal mortality rate in developed regions

• More women are receiving prenatal care. In developing areas, prenatal care increased from 65% in 1990 to 83% in 2012

• Only half of women living in developing areas receive the recommended amount of medical care they need

• Fewer adolescents are having children in most developing regions, but progress has slowed. The great increase in the use of contraceptive methods that characterized the 1990s was not replicated in the first decade of the 2000s

• Slowly, the demand for family planning is being met for an increasing number of women, but the demand is increasing rapidly.

3. HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

• At the end of 2014, 13.6 million people had access to antiretroviral therapies

• In 2013, 2.1 million new HIV infections occurred, 38% less than in 2001

• At the end of 2013, 35 million people were living with HIV

• In the same year, 240,000 children were infected with the HIV virus

• New HIV infections among children have decreased by 58% since 2001

• Globally, adolescents and young women face gender-based inequalities, exclusion, discrimination and violence, putting them at greater risk of contracting HIV

• HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age worldwide

• Tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 36% since 2004

• In 2013, 250,000 new HIV infections were recorded among adolescents, two-thirds of which affected girls

• AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adolescents (10 to 19 years old) in Africa and the second most common cause of death among adolescents globally

• In many places, adolescents’ right to privacy and autonomy of their own bodies is not respected; many say their first sexual experience was forced

• In 2013, 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV

• Between 2000 and 2015, more than 6.2 million malaria deaths were averted, mostly in children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Global malaria incidence rate reduced by 37% and mortality rate by 58%

• Between 2000 and 2013, tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved 37 million lives. The tuberculosis mortality rate fell by 45% and the prevalence rate by 41% between 1990 and 2013.


3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 for every 100,000 live births

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of infants and children under 5 years of age. All countries should seek to reduce neonatal mortality to at least 12 per 1,000 live births and mortality of children under 5 years of age to at least 25 per 1,000 live births.

3.3 By 2030, end epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases; fight hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

3.4 By 2030, reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third through prevention and treatment and promote well-being and mental health

3.5 Strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including drug abuse and harmful alcohol use

3.6 By 2020, halve the global number of deaths and injuries resulting from road accidents

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning, information, education and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs

3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including protection from financial risks, access to essential quality healthcare services and safe, effective, quality and affordable access to basic medicines and vaccines for all

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and from contamination and pollution of air, water and soil

3.a Strengthen the implementation of the Regulatory Framework of the World Health Organization Convention on Tobacco Control as appropriate in all countries

3.b Support research and development of vaccines and drugs for communicable and non-communicable diseases that mainly affect developing countries; provide access to essential and affordable medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to make full use of the provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Rights of Intellectual Property containing so-called “flexibilities” to protect public health and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

3.c Substantially increase funding for health and the selection, training, development and retention of health personnel in developing countries, especially least developed and small island developing States

3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, especially developing countries, to advance warning, reduce and manage health risks, both nationally and globally