Intended for healthcare professionals


The 2030 sustainable development goal for health

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 26 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5295
  1. Gavin Yamey, evidence to policy initiative lead1,
  2. Rima Shretta, malaria elimination initiative deputy lead1,
  3. Fred Newton Binka, vice chancellor2
  1. 1Global Health Group, University of California San Francisco, 50 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
  2. 2University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana
  1. Correpsondence to: G Yamey yameyg{at}

Must balance bold aspiration with technical feasibility

In the year 2000, 193 countries adopted the millennium development goals (MDGs), a milestone in global development. The eight goals were simple to grasp, measurable, and time bound, ending in 2015. Goals 4, 5, and 6 focused on reducing child, maternal, and infectious disease mortality, respectively, raising health to the top of the global agenda and mobilising new health financing.1 Although the three health related goals are unlikely to be met, there has been substantial progress towards their achievement, particularly for infectious diseases.2

As the MDGs come to an end, a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be debated during the UN General Assembly that starts on 24 September 2014. These goals will have a 2030 end date. They could catalyse further transformations in global health.

An intergovernmental open working group is writing the new goals and has just published its first draft.3 Whereas the MDGs were “‘top-down goals’ formulated by policy elites,”4 the working group deserves credit for drafting the new goals using a bottom-up approach, based on wide ranging consultations. There is much to like in the draft: …

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