WHO releases ‘Health in 2015: From MDGs to SDGs’ (8 December 2015)

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report entitled ‘Health in 2015: From Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’.

Key Messages:

The report aims to describe global health in 2015, looking back 15 years at the trends and positive forces during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era and assessing the main challenges for the coming 15 years.

Progress towards the MDGs, on the whole, has been remarkable, including, for instance, poverty reduction, education improvements and increased access to safe drinking-water.

Progress on the three health goals and targets has also been considerable. Globally, the HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria epidemics were “turned around”, child mortality and maternal mortality decreased greatly (53% and 44%, respectively, since 1990), despite falling short of the MDG targets.

However, several limitations of the MDGs have also become apparent, including

  • a limited focus,
  • verticalization of health and disease programmes in countries,
  • lack of attention to strengthening health systems,
  • the emphasis on a “one-size-fits-all” development planning approach,  
  • focus on aggregate targets rather than equity.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is of unprecedented scope and ambition, applicable to all countries, and goes well beyond the MDGs.

While poverty eradication, health, education, and food security and nutrition remain priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise a broad range of economic, social and environmental objectives, and offer the prospect of more peaceful and inclusive societies.

Briefly, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. No Poverty
  2. No Hunger
  3. Good Health
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Renewable energy
  8. Good jobs and economic growth
  9. Innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace and justice
  17. Partnership for the Goals

In all, there are 169 targets.

The health goal is broad “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, and has 13 targets. One of the targets is Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Monitoring and review of progress will be a critical element of the SDGs. An indicator framework is still being developed and is scheduled to be adopted in 2016.

Useful Links:

Link to the WHO press release:


Link to the Full Report (English, PDF):


Link to UNRIC document listing the SDGs:



1 thought on “WHO releases ‘Health in 2015: From MDGs to SDGs’ (8 December 2015)

  1. Pingback: 2015 Ecology | Marcus Ampe's Space

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