Intended for healthcare professionals


UN adopts new global health targets to supersede the millennium goals

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 28 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5177
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The global community formally adopted the sustainable development goals—the successors to the millennium development goals—at a meeting at the United Nations in New York this weekend.

The sustainable development goals consist of 17 goals and 169 targets, with only one goal focusing on health. Goal 3 is to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all ages.”

New health related targets to be reached by 2030 include reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to <70 per 100 000 live births (from 210 per 100 000 live births in 2013); all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to 12 per 1000 live births, compared with 20 in 2013, and under 5 mortality to 25 per 1000 live births (46 in 2013); and reducing by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases.

Another target is the achievement of universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to good quality healthcare, and drugs and vaccines that are safe, effective, and affordable.

Not all of the health related millennium development goals have been met—maternal mortality has fallen by 40%, far short of the 75% target, and child mortality has fallen by 53%, missing the goal of 67%. Targets to stop and reverse the global HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics have been met, as have targets on access to better sanitation.

At a meeting to announce progress on tackling malaria in September,1 Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, said that countries must look at their own culture and context to determine which of the new targets to focus on.

“The MDGs [millennium development goals] were very focused and unleashed a lot of energy, commitment, and resource . . . Every country on this planet must now find their own solutions and address their own health needs,” she said.


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5177


View Abstract