A new vision for global health

26-09-2016

Agenda 2030, agreed by 193 United Nations member states in September 2015, has transformed the global health agenda. Moving away from the narrow approach taken by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and, more specifically, the third goal to 'encourage healthy lives and promote the well-being for all at all ages' (SDG 3) – propose a more comprehensive and horizontal vision for health. The MDGs focused solely on maternal and child health and on a limited number of communicable diseases that burden the developing world in particular. SDG 3's nine targets and four means of implementation, however, encompass universal access to treatment of a large number of communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as their prevention, addressing several major social, economic and environmental determinants of health and strengthening underlying health systems and research. The renewed health agenda's broad scope will demand political courage to reform the fragmented global health architecture and make it fit for the purpose of implementing the targets at global level. A strong advocate of a systemic and human rights-grounded approach to health, the European Parliament recently called upon the Commission to present and implement the long overdue programme for action in global health as well as a plan for establishing universal health coverage.

Agenda 2030, agreed by 193 United Nations member states in September 2015, has transformed the global health agenda. Moving away from the narrow approach taken by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and, more specifically, the third goal to 'encourage healthy lives and promote the well-being for all at all ages' (SDG 3) – propose a more comprehensive and horizontal vision for health. The MDGs focused solely on maternal and child health and on a limited number of communicable diseases that burden the developing world in particular. SDG 3's nine targets and four means of implementation, however, encompass universal access to treatment of a large number of communicable and non-communicable diseases, as well as their prevention, addressing several major social, economic and environmental determinants of health and strengthening underlying health systems and research. The renewed health agenda's broad scope will demand political courage to reform the fragmented global health architecture and make it fit for the purpose of implementing the targets at global level. A strong advocate of a systemic and human rights-grounded approach to health, the European Parliament recently called upon the Commission to present and implement the long overdue programme for action in global health as well as a plan for establishing universal health coverage.