Good health is an underlying factor in achieving almost all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Only when people have access to good health can they lift themselves — and their communities — out of poverty.
Without access to good health (SDG 3), a child might not be able to attend school (SDG 4), which means they might not be able to access a good job (SDG 8), which means they will not earn enough income when they become an adult (SDG 1). It’s a perpetual cycle that must be broken — and that can be broken through global health initiatives.
This World Health Day, Global Citizen is shining light on important health efforts around the world that would not only achieve good health for all, but that are vital to the achievements all of the SDGs by 2030.
1. We’re calling on Canada to increase funding for the health, nutrition, and rights of women and children.
Empowering women by ensuring they have access to quality health care and reproductive rights is key to achieving good health and gender equality.
While there has been great progress, an estimated 5 million mothers and children still die every year from preventable conditions, and there are 214 million women around the world who lack access to modern contraception.
Canada is considered a leader in gender equality, as past and current governments have made important investments in maternal, newborn, and child health, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights — but the country’s funding for these initiatives will soon run out.
That is why we’re calling on Canadian leaders to increase funding for the health, nutrition, and rights of women and children, including a financial commitment to the Global Financing Facility (GFF), a fund that works with governments and institutions to help prioritize initiatives that will help recipient countries reach health-related goals.
This is all part of the Thrive Agenda, a bold new plan brought forward by Global Citizen, in partnership with many Canadian organizations. You can take action now by signing a petition asking Canada to step up its support for the health and rights of women and children.
2. We’re keeping polio on the map.
Polio once affected 350,000 children every year. It's a highly infectious disease that can cause paralysis and even death. But thanks to global efforts and funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which was launched in 1988, the world is close to eradicating this disease once and for all.
In fact, in 2018, there were just 33 reported cases of wild poliovirus. It persists in only three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria — and there hasn’t been a wild polio case in Nigeria since 2016.
Polio is 99.9% eradicated, but the importance of continued commitment and funding toward its eradication cannot be understated. If left unchecked, within 10 years, the world would see a resurgence of this deadly disease, with an estimated 200,000 cases per year.
That is what makes continued commitment and funding from governments, partners, and Global Citizens all the more pressing, and why we’re committed to seeing its eradication through. Action starts with knowledge. Take our quiz on polio and then challenge your Twitter followers to do the same.
3. We’re calling on world leaders to tackle neglected tropical diseases.
Among the well-known diseases of poverty, like HIV/AIDS, cholera, and malaria, are some that are much less well-known, but just as menacing. They are called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
NTDs are a group of parasitic and bacterial diseases that include Chagas disease, Guinea worm disease, human African trypanosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma, and more.
The diseases can blind, disfigure, and debilitate people and they specifically affect 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest people.
The good news is that these are diseases that the world knows how to treat or prevent. That is why we’re calling on world leaders to tackle them now, with a focus on the impact they currently have on women and girls — as they are disproportionaly affected by NTDs. Sign our petition calling on leaders to improve women’s health by tackling NTDs.
4. We’re getting ready for World Immunization Week.
The best way to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years old by 2030 is to ensure access to vaccines. It is estimated that 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented every year thanks to immunization programs.
Global vaccination coverage sits at 85%, according to 2018 data from the World Health Organization.
Global Citizen routinely campaigns for improved access to vaccines, knowing that another 1.5 million lives could be saved if vaccination coverage increased. This World Immunization Week, from April 24 to 30, we’ll be launching a campaign calling on world leaders to prioritize access to vaccines for the world’s poorest by renewing their support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — which has vaccinated 700 million children and saved 10 million lives since 2000.