Blog: Amplify

17 Days, 17 Goals: Goal 3 - Health

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages -

Sustainable Development Goal 3 Good Health

This post is part of our blog series: 17 Days, 17 Goals. The blog series features foundations working on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals leading up to the first anniversary of the SDGs. The Council on Foundations Sustainable Development Goals & Philanthropy initiative is in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Find us on social media with #PhilSDGs.

Why do we need Goal 3?

  • Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of five as those from wealthier families.
  • 17,000 fewer children die each day than in 1990, but more than six million children still die before their fifth birthday each year
  • The maternal mortality ratio – the proportion of mothers that do not survive childbirth compared to those who do – in developing regions is still 14 times higher than in the developed regions
  • At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 35 million people living with HIV
  • AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adolescents (aged 10–19) in Africa and the second most common cause of death among adolescents globally
  • An infant mortality rate of 6.1 has the United States lagging behind all other developed countries

What are some of the targets?

  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
  • By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases
  • Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks
  • By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

Featured: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Building a Culture of Health

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being is one of the top-funded of the SDGs, making up 32% of US philanthropic funding for the goals from 2010-2013, according to analysis by the Foundation Center. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) is the second largest funder of this goal, committing over $1.2 billion to health and well-being between 2010-2013, almost all of which went to programs in the United States.

RWJ has launched an initiative to build a Culture of Health in the United States. This program is about working together across silos, sectors, and borders to make health a national priority for all. There are ten underlying principles for the movement, which distinguish it from other health-related foundation programming:

  1. Good health flourishes across geographic, demographic, and social sectors.
  2. Attaining the best health possible is valued by our entire society.
  3. Individuals and families have the means and the opportunity to make choices.
  4. Business, government, individuals, and organizations work together to build healthy communities.
  5. No one is excluded.
  6. Everyone has access to affordable, quality health care.
  7. Health care is efficient and equitable.
  8. The economy is less burdened by excessive and unwarranted health care spending.
  9. Keeping everyone as healthy as possible guides public and private decision-making.
  10. Americans understand that we are all in this together. 

This approach reflects the integrated approaches to health within Goal 3 and across the SDGs. Beyond their large domestic investment in health programs, RWJ is also mobilizing ideas from other countries to find solutions to problems in the United States through their Global Ideas for US Solutions program. One example of this international learning was when the Foundation brought lessons on citizen and patient engagement from Sweden to the US in 2015. Learning from other countries for application in the United States is an integral aspect of the SDGs - their universality means that American foundations working on domestic issues have opportunities to learn from funders in other countries working on the same issue, perhaps in a slightly different context but with important lessons to share. 

"We've always learned from other countries - this is just an acknowledgment that now it's time we do that for health."

- Karabi Acharya, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

By using foreign solutions for domestic issues, RWJ is embracing the global nature of the goals and ackhowledging the intercultural and intersector nature of successful global development. Furthermore, their efforts in the United States are about addressing the roots of health issues in a wholistic manner, which is critical to the success of the SDGs. 

RWJ Foundation's Culture of Health


Reources & Information

  1. United Nations
  2. Washington Post
  3. SDGFunders.org
  4. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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