As you read this post the whole world is trying to overcome the worst pandemic in many decades that the world has faced today. Many have fallen by the wayside, and many others continue to die all over the planet. The consequences for the social welfare system, the economy of the countries and the future of many people is at risk or simply doomed. Never more so than now does the importance of sustainable development goal number three, “Health and Well-Being“.
This pandemic has made us see our fragility and that of the system itself. The importance of this objective number three goes far beyond the health of one person; it involves the entire socioeconomic system of a country as we have seen. A deficient health system, due to bad management, a lack of public access to health care, or the privatisation of health care brings about, when the situation worsens, the collapse of the system, the lack of resources and even worse the loss of human lives. Think now of the developing countries where they face serious health risks, such as high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality, the spread of infectious diseases or the lack of proper medical facilities. The connection between sustainable development and good health is crucial to achieving high rates of social well-being.
However, when the skinny cows arrive, it is precisely sectors such as health that pay for the ups and downs of the neoliberal capitalist market with cuts. It is paradoxical to see how politicians are now taking their hands off the impossibility of dealing with a guaranteed response to a pandemic that has taken thousands of lives without a sufficient response from the health system, when in the past nothing was done to strengthen this very health system. The problem, as on so many other occasions, lies in the lack of commitment, of a vocation for public service or for safeguarding the general interest, which are left helpless in the face of the lobbying interests behind the policy that has lost its true purpose, the citizenship and the welfare of all social classes.
The lack of a health guarantee is even more of a problem, of greater proportions in poor countries. According to the United Nations Development Programme – At least 400 million people do not have access to basic health services, and 40% lack social protection. A situation that causes every 2 seconds someone between 30 and 70 years old to die prematurely from noncommunicable diseases: chronic cardiovascular or respiratory disease, diabetes or cancer in most cases due to lack of access to quality health care.
It is more necessary than ever and we are becoming more aware than ever before of the need for large investments, both in research and in infrastructures throughout the world, which guarantee access to quality health care for every citizen. On the other hand, it is essential to invest in research and development, especially in the field of medicine, since it is the gateway to a society with equal life expectancy and which allows us all to achieve a long and full life.
However, it goes without saying that this is not happening or is not happening with the importance that should be given to it, and it is happening very unevenly depending on the country, its resources and the degree of commitment or corruption of its leaders.
The world is not on track to achieve health-related ODS. Progress has been uneven, both between and within countries. There is still a 31-year gap between the countries with the shortest and longest life expectancy. While some have made impressive progress, national averages mask the fact that some populations, groups and communities are lagging behind. Multi-sectoral, rights-based and gender-sensitive approaches are essential to address inequities and ensure good health for all.
United Nations Development Programme.
Para saber más: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/