In a recent article in The Conversation, HSG Board Chair Sara Bennett and Board Vice-Chair Kabir Sheikh share their insights on the implications of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for global health. They make the case that the SDGs signal a more comprehensive, ambitious approach to health by putting an emphasis on functioning health systems. An excerpt from the article:
“The fact that the sustainable development goals have only one solitary goal for health has been criticised by many. There are concerns that it signals a more diluted and less ambitious era in global health.
We disagree. We believe that the sustainable development goals promise a significant improvement for global health over what went before.
Of the eight anti-poverty millennium development goals, three focused on global health. They committed the global community to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The benefit of the eight was that they helped propel global health into the public’s consciousness and into aid agencies’ budgets. But they also led to unintended consequences.
By contrast, of the 17 proposed sustainable development goals, only one focuses on health. And this is framed in a very broad fashion:
To ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages.
Under this goal there are nine targets. These encompass diverse health objectives, from averting road traffic accidents to reducing substance abuse and improving environmental health along with the more traditional fields captured in the millennium development goals.”