There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations (UN) to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” Goal 3 focuses on ensuring good health and promoting well-being. (Image courtesy of the United Nations)
Los Altos High School

Opinion: The United Nations’ Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

The United Nation’s (UN) Envision2030 third goal on improving the health and well-being of all is especially important considering the ongoing world pandemic. Ensuring access to medical supplies, treatments, and providing resources to support new advancements, should be a responsibility shared by all. Millions of people around our world have been infected by the pandemic and many more will suffer until a cure is found.

Finding an effective vaccine for COVID-19, better treatments for cancers, and other diseases should not stop at borders or be limited to a few chosen organizations and countries. Scientists from all around the world need to participate in the research and the UN and its many agencies need to ensure all voices are being heard. It is especially disheartening that early voices raising alarms about COVID-19 were ignored.

To ensure a healthy future the world needs to continue to focus on new breakthroughs in medical research, ensure sufficient medical supplies are available to all (especially less-developed countries), and depoliticize non-government organizations to focus on health.

Some of the biggest contributors to medical research have been from foundations and other non-government organizations. According to the United States National Institute of Health in a 2008 publication, the “Gates Foundation—distributed more than US$7.8 billion, including more than US$2 billion for work combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria; approximately US$1.9 billion for immunizations; and US$448 million for the GCGH projects.”

Where governments are limited in resources, nonprofit organizations and charities such as the Gates Foundation should continue to be leading the charge in funding important health research. Beyond research, the next important tasks of the world community is ensure access to supplies.

According to a paper published by researchers at the National Academy of Medicine, “[H]ealth systems in low-income countries (LICs) often have limited access to even seemingly commonplace medical devices.”

Improving this situation will raise the health standards of the local populations that suffer from ailments are common and simply treated if more advanced countries. The article continues to mention that in some countries donations account for 80% of their supplies.

One final area of concern to ensure equitable access to all to resources and knowledge. Due to political concerns within the UN and its member states, not all regions of the world have had a voice — namely Taiwan.

It would be beneficial if the UN and its member states would support the constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) when it states (1946): “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

Although Taiwan is an advanced society with universal health coverage for its citizen and works as a defacto independent entity separate from other states, it routinely is restricted access to medical knowledge from the WHO/WHA and other UN associated organizations.