The third sustainable development goal that the UN has set out is called ‘Good health and Wellbeing’. The UN states that ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.’ There are 13 points to Goal 3 but within this post, we will be exploring two of them; 3.1, 3.8.

3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

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.

3.1 – By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70% per live births

Maternal mortality is defined as ‘the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy’. Since 2000, the UN is reporting a 37% decrease in maternal mortality however in developing regions it is still 14 times higher than in developed regions. This inequality in mortality rates shows how there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that people can access the right healthcare that they need, regardless of where they are from.

The UN further explains that ‘expanding access to modern contraceptive methods is essential to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.’ They report that women who needed contraceptive methods having their needs have risen from 74% in 2000 to 76% in 2019. While this doesn’t seem like a significant increase, contraception has a lot of social and religious stigmas surrounding it. In order to introduce contraception effectively, it has to overcome those barriers.

Having access to safe contraception allows women to be in control of their own health and wellbeing in regards to pregnancy and their ability to be a parent. Being a parent is a huge financial pressure on a family and it may affect the woman’s ability to afford healthcare, especially if they weren’t planning on being pregnant. Furthermore, there may be instances where it is medically necessary for the woman to not follow through with the pregnancy for her own safety; with accessibility to maternity care and healthcare, they can be looked after effectively.

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.

At least 400 million people have no basic healthcare, and 40 percent lack social protection.

At some point in everyone’s life they will need medical attention in some way but if you can’t access that healthcare then complications arise. Societies need healthy individuals to function properly.

According to the UN ‘there’s a 31-year gap between the countries with the shortest and longest life expectancies. And while some countries have made impressive gains, national averages hide that many are being left behind’

Healthcare is a highly debated political warzone, especially in western countries it seems. In the UK the NHS is underfunded and buckling under the pressure. In the US the healthcare situation means that one instance of being ill can mean falling into poverty because of the increased costs.

WHO defines Universal Health Coverage as all people having the ability to ‘use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.’ (WHO, 2020)

In 2010 the US government introduced a bill that made them one step closer to universal health care for all citizens, protecting them from financial issues at the hands of medical aid. However, since that bill came in, prices in the US medical sector have continued to increase. According to a survey done by Gallup, 13.7% of Americans lacked health insurance, the highest levels since 2014.

‘In 2017, U.S. health care costs were $3.5 trillion. That makes health care one of the country’s largest industries. It equals 17.9% of gross domestic product. In comparison, health care cost $27.2 billion in 1960, just 5% of GDP. That translates to an annual health care cost of $10,739 per person in 2017 versus just $147 per person in 1960. Health care costs have risen faster than the median annual income’ (The Balance, 2020)