Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 3 seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The aim is to improve reproductive and maternal and child health; end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases; reduce non-communicable and environmental diseases; achieve universal health coverage; and ensure universal access to safe, affordable and effective medicines and vaccines. Towards that end, world leaders committed to support research and development, increase health financing, and strengthen the capacity of all countries to reduce and manage health risks.

Maternal, newborn and child mortality rates have declined sharply since 1990, but are still unacceptably high

Between 1990 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 44 per cent to an estimated 216 deaths per 100,000 live births, falling short of the MDGs and far from the target of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births established in the 2030 Agenda. Almost all maternal deaths occur in low-resource settings and can be prevented, including by expanding access to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services. Globally in 2015, approximately three in four women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years) who were married or in a union satisfied their need for family planning by using modern contraceptive methods. Only three in four births took place with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant.

The global under-5 mortality rate declined by more than half to 43 per 1,000 live births from 1990 to 2015. This was short of the two-thirds reduction envisaged in the MDGs. In 2015, an estimated 5.9 million children under age 5 died; most of these deaths were preventable. Over this period, progress in child survival among children aged 1 to 59 months outpaced advances in reducing neonatal mortality; as a result, a growing share of all under-5 deaths occurs in the first month of life (45 per cent in 2015).

Maternal mortality ratio worldwide, 1990-2015

Neonatal and under-5 mortality rates worldwide, 1990-2015

The incidence of major communicable diseases is declining, although hundreds of millions of people are still newly infected each year

The incidence of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis declined globally between 2000 and 2015, indicating that MDG 6 was achieved. Ending these epidemics, however, will require reinvigorated efforts. In 2015, the number of new HIV infections globally was 0.3 per 1,000 uninfected people, and an estimated 2.1 million people became newly infected that year. The incidence of HIV was highest in sub-Saharan Africa, with 1.5 new cases per 1,000 uninfected people. In 2014, 9.6 million new cases of tuberculosis (133 per 100,000 people) were reported worldwide, with 58 per cent of them in South-Eastern Asia and the Western Pacific. Almost half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria and, in 2015, the incidence rate was 91 new cases per 1,000 people at risk – an estimated 214 million cases. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 89 per cent of all malaria cases worldwide, with an incidence rate of 235 per 1,000 people at risk.

Global HIV, malaria and tuberculosis incidence rates, world, 2000−2015

Among people under age 70, cardiovascular diseases and cancer account for almost two-thirds of deaths from non-communicable diseases

In 2012, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were responsible for around 38 million deaths per year, accounting for 68 per cent of all deaths worldwide. Among deaths in the population under age 70, commonly referred to as premature deaths, NCDs accounted for 52 per cent of all deaths. Over three quarters of premature deaths from NCDs were caused by cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease. Globally, premature mortality from these four main NCDs declined by 15 per cent between 2000 and 2012.

Share of premature deaths* due to non-communicable diseases by type, 2012 (percentage)
* Premature deaths refer to deaths in the population under age 70.
Note: Because of rounding, percentages in chart may not add up to 100.

Road traffic deaths have slowly declined since 2000 in high-income countries, while increasing significantly in low- and middle-income countries

Around 1.25 million people died from road traffic accidents in 2013, an average of 3,400 each day. In addition, tens of millions of people are injured or disabled each year from traffic accidents, with children, pedestrians, cyclists and older people among the most vulnerable. Halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020 is an ambitious goal given the dramatic increase in the number of vehicles, which nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013.

Number of road traffic deaths (thousands) and vehicles (millions) in high-, lowand middle-income countries, 2000-2013