On the path to a healthier society

Diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS are still rife in many parts of the world. The UN has promised to tackle these diseases, and by 2030 wants to make sure that all people have access to healthcare services and drugs. Here we describe how companies and institutions can help win this battle.

In 2000 the United Nations adopted eight so-called Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. One of these goals is to improve health across the planet. Since 2000, the number of deaths from malaria has fallen by 60 per cent. Despite this, results in many areas such as reducing child and maternal mortality have lagged expectations. Today a woman still dies every 90 seconds from complications related to pregnancy or birth.

Access for all

This has prompted the UN to adopt better health as one of the main goals in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Experience has shown, however, that health issues have to be addressed holistically rather than in isolation. Education and food security, for example, are important components of health programmes. As under the Millennium Development Goals, the UN is again aiming for reductions in child and maternal mortality and communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The “good health and wellbeing” sustainable development goal in the 2030 agenda also includes a commitment to combating non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and preventing road accidents and substance abuse. By 2030 the aim is for all people to have access to high-quality healthcare services and drugs and be safeguarded from financial risk.

polarstern news agenda 2030 ziel 3

Health and wellbeing | The UN’s third main goal in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to ensure healthy lives and access to drugs for all people.

Organisations need to engage

Thanks to our advanced healthcare and social security system, we in Switzerland already have this access and financial security. We have the means to protect ourselves against malaria and child and maternal mortality. We also have the means to get involved in improving people’s wellbeing in other countries with less well developed healthcare systems. Organisations wanting to help work for global health have a number of options to choose from. Pharmaceutical companies, medical research institutes and universities are at the source, so to speak, and can target research efforts to develop specific drugs to address these areas of disease. Drug companies can do a lot to influence not only R&D, but how their products are distributed. They can sell drugs at a lower price, or even donate part of their production for free, in countries hit by poverty. Hospitals also have the option of donating medicines or medical equipment.

Preventive education

Besides funding drugs and equipment, education is the second key to improving health around the world. Schools, public authorities and institutions can do targeted educational work. A whole range of methods, from talking directly to children in schools to launching campaigns or providing free advisory services, can help prevent the further spread of diseases such as AIDS or reduce substance abuse. Schools should be seeking exchange with other schools in developing countries. Teachers in this country can educate children in developing countries by spending a limited period teaching in a school there. Hospitals also have the means to send experts to share their medical know-how in developing countries.

Organisations that don’t have specific resources such as drugs or medical expertise have other ways of getting involved. There are many charities and foundations that depend on financial support to help set up advanced healthcare systems in developing countries.

Clear signal

Whether you provide medicines, do research, provide education or donate funds, you should make sure people know about it. Provided you communicate your involvement appropriately, it can work to the benefit of your company as well as the common good. Whatever you do, you should make sure your efforts feature clearly in your company profile. Pharmaceutical companies can advertise by publicising that they have donated part of the revenues from a drug to charity. It’s a good idea for schools to tell parents, the authorities and the local community about their involvement in the form of flyers and posters or at joint events. A positive side-effect is that other people might be encouraged to get involved as well. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of the social media either: organisations of all sorts can post information on their involvement. Regular blog posts on your website are another way of keeping people informed. The key is to send out a clear signal that you’re working for a healthier world.

Polarstern Agenda 2030 Ziele Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Concrete engagement for the 2030 Agenda

In 2015 the United Nations passed its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It comprises 17 main goals that the internationl community aims to achieve by 2030. We are publishing a series of news items and describing all these goals and how organisations and institutions can work towards them. In each article we’ll also be giving tips on how to effectively communicate this engagement.

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