J Korean Med Assoc.  2017 Aug;60(8):632-639. 10.5124/jkma.2017.60.8.632.

Towards the Sustainable Development Goals: implications for health systems in the Western Pacific

Affiliations
  • 1World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines. linv@who.int

Abstract

Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) build on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals that had guided development efforts for the preceding 15 years. The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region made remarkable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, but also experienced some challenges and shortcomings. This paper argues that the SDGs incorporate these complexities and aim to capture the many ways in which equitable and robust development is shaped by factors which are linked to each other. The SDGs place greater emphasis on a broader range of determinants of health, including poverty reduction, education, and reducing inequality, thereby reflecting that health influences and is influenced by progress on all goals and targets. Drawing on recent World Health Organization frameworks, the paper suggests options for advancing the SDGs in the Western Pacific. It argues that universal health coverage is core to achieving the SDGs and enacting the principle of leaving no-one behind, and outlines new ways of working within and outside of the health sector as well as appropriate capabilities of the health sector to drive the agenda. The SDGs place renewed demands on Member States and their partners. The strengths of the SDG framework lie in the emphasis on collaboration and joint action to solve shared problems, on collective accountability and the public interest, on tackling the determinants of health, and notably on the primacy of reaching those left furthest behind.

Keyword

Sustainable Development Goals; Health systems; Health equity; Universal health coverage
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