Setting, Keeping, and Reaching Big Health Goals

CommunicationsBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

In September 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published its first annual “Goalkeepers” report assessing the world’s progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Tracking 18 indicators from the SDGs, the Goalkeepers report displays global progress on issues like including poverty, under-five mortality, sanitation, and more. It also provides projections on how the health metrics might change if our progress advances or declines.

Through a massive, three-year effort of data synthesis and analysis, this report painted a clear picture of how far we’ve come — and what we need to do to be make the world healthier, happier, and more equitable. Here are three key takeaways from the report:

  1. Results are mixed so far. International and local efforts have helped ensure that more children around the world are making it to adulthood, more families have food on their tables, and more people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives. However, the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, while donor fatigue threatens to undercut progress.
  2. Donor agency cuts could be dangerous for global progress and domestic interests. Foreign aid garners bipartisan support and accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget, yet the proposed 2018 budget shows a cut of nearly 30 percent. Reduction in foreign assistance funding not only threatens the health and well-being of global communities, but also endangers U.S. national security, promotes foreign trade, and helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  3. A strong health workforce is more important than ever. Global health systems are facing a severe shortage of health workers, while top-down, doctor-dependent models of health continue to prove unsustainable. The WHO estimates that an additional $371 billion will be needed per year for low-income and middle-income countries to reach the health-related SDG targets, 75 percent of which will go to towards health systems strengthening, with substantial portions focused on the health workforce. That’s why innovative, self-sustaining solutions are needed to combat the world’s greatest health challenges.

With your help, we can continue building the capacity of healthcare workers to take on and continue the work of tackling health challenges. Consider donating to Seed Global Health this holiday season and help us educate and empower health professionals where they are needed most.