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

Goal 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. Health and well-being are important at every stage of one’s life, starting from the beginning. This goal addresses all major health priorities: reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; communicable and non-communicable diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines.

SDG 3 aims to prevent needless suffering from preventable diseases and premature death by focusing on key targets that boost the health of a country’s overall population. Regions with the highest burden of disease and neglected population groups and regions are priority areas. Goal 3 also calls for deeper investments in research and development, health financing and health risk reduction and management.

UNICEF’s role in contributing to Goal 3 centres on healthy pregnancies (maternal mortality and skilled birth attendant), healthy childhoods (under-five and neonatal mortality) as well as vaccine coverage. UNICEF also contributes to monitoring elements of the universal health coverage indicator.

UNICEF is custodian for global monitoring of two indicators that measure progress towards Goal 3 as it relates to children: Indicator 3.2.1 Under-five mortality rate and Indicator 3.2.2 Neonatal mortality rate. UNICEF is also co-custodian for Indicator 3.1.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel and for Indicator 3.b.1 Proportion of the target population covered by all vaccines included in their national programme.

Child-related SDG indicators

TARGET 3.1 By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

TARGET 3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births

TARGET 3.3 By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

TARGET 3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

TARGET 3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all

TARGET 3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

TARGET 3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non‑communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

Key asks

To ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of all children, UNICEF has four key asks that encourage all governments to:

  1. Strengthen primary healthcare systems to reach every child
  2. Focus on maternal, newborn and child survival
  3. Prioritize child and adolescent health and well-being, including mental health
  4. Support responses to reduce the impact on children and families of natural disasters, complex emergencies and demographic shifts

Learn more about UNICEF’s key asks for implementing Goal 3