Home > Our Goals > Goal 2: Uphold the Right to Better Health, Clean Water and Sanitation
Comboni Sr. Maria Martinelli, an Italian physician, talks with a
patient in the St. Daniel Comboni Catholic Hospital in Wau, South
Sudan. Sr. Maria is the hospital’s medical director. Support from
Misean Cara has funded community mobilisation through digital
radio, developed the capacity of medical staff, provided antenatal
services for women, and maternal and child health screening.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey

Comboni Sr. Maria Martinelli, an Italian physician, talks with a patient in the St. Daniel Comboni Catholic Hospital in Wau, South Sudan. Sr. Maria is the hospital’s medical director. Support from Misean Cara has funded community mobilisation through digital radio, developed the capacity of medical staff, provided antenatal services for women, and maternal and child health screening. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

Why this Goal?

Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to eradicate a wide range of diseases and seeks to address many persistent and emerging health issues. The Goal contains 13 ambitious targets to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being for all ages by 2030.

Whilst SDG 3 recognises significant strides have been made to reduce some causes of maternal and child mortality, rates of mortality remain high. Women in developing countries are 14 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in developed countries and every year around 6 million children die before their fifth birthday; of these, four out of every five deaths are in Africa and Southern Asia. This is compounded by some communities not having adequate access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.

Progress has been achieved in reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV & AIDS. Despite this AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. There are 22 million people living with HIV who are not accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy. Other communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria remain endemic.

Emerging diseases such as Ebola and the Zika virus present new and urgent challenges, including strengthening local responses to infectious disease outbreaks and the management of national and global epidemics. Similarly, the lack of promotion of mental health and well-being, and of the prevention and treatment of substance abuse as health priorities is detrimental to health outcomes.

Chronic diseases remain one of the main factors that push households from poverty into deprivation. Currently, 63% of all deaths worldwide stem from non-communicable diseases, chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. The cumulative economic loss to low and middle-income countries from these four diseases is forecast to surpass US$7 trillion by 2025.*

Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to ensure universal and equitable access to safe water sources and sanitation for all by 2030. Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world’s population. Globally around 1.8 billion people use fecally contaminated drinking water sources. Over 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation facilities. Waterborne diseases remain one of the leading causes of child mortality, with more than 800 children dying every day from diarrhoeal diseases linked to poor hygiene.

Because of this, upholding the right to better health, clean water and sanitation remains one of our major areas of focus. We want to focus on sustainable clean water and sanitation facilities whilst strengthening health systems to provide equitable access to health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, or palliative care through a holistic, integrated approach.

Key Priorities to Achieve Success

  • Increase equity of access to health, clean water and sanitation.
  • Improve health outcomes of people who are marginalised or living in poverty.
  • Contribute to health systems strengthening.

*United Nations. 2015. Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.