Play It Green has been marking the run up to COP26 by looking at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or ‘SDGs’, not only to help you understand why they’re important but also to help you learn how to become part of the solution.
Goal number 3, good health and well-being for all, is likely to have been at the forefront of many minds in the past 18 months.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, progress was being made across the world in many health areas.
The global maternity mortality ratio, for example, had declined by 44% between 1990 and 2015.
Between 2010 and 2019, there were significant decreases in infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, and tuberculosis.
However, the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has now halted much of this progress and, in a few cases, has even reversed it.
The services most severely affected were widespread, including those for mental health and substance use disorders, cancer screening, HIV, family planning, immunization, and malaria.
When the UN initially set out their targets for goal 3 they hoped that by 2030 we would make significant gains.
This included ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5, substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from air, water and soil pollution, reducing deaths by non-communicable diseases by a third, and ensuring universal access to essential healthcare.
Unfortunately, many of these goals will not be met.
Not only has the Covid-19 pandemic set us back, but climate change is also putting a strain on healthcare worldwide, worsening many of the social and environmental detriments to our health. If nothing changes by 2030, it could cause an additional 250,000 deaths a year.
Ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare, no matter their age or where they are born, is essential to building a prosperous and sustainable society.
A concerted effort must now be made worldwide both to give people the healthcare access they need, and to tackle the issues that may threaten global health in the future.
Achieving goal 3 does not have to wait until governments and world leaders act; you as an individual can help get us there.
Whether that’s by looking after your own health and the health of those around you, raising awareness in your community, or holding local leaders to account, if we all work together we can make a difference.
‘Ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone is essential if we are to create a sustainable society. Before the pandemic, major progress had been made towards meeting development goal three, but we have faced a major setback since early 2020.
Every member of Play It Green plays their part in meeting this important goal; through our planting partner Eden Reforestation and through our good causes, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Mind and Shelter.’
Richard Dickson, Co-founder, Play it Green