Focus 3: Health and Population Dynamics


Realizing the right to the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health and improving healthy life expectancy is a widely shared endeavour. Some areas that could be considered include:

  1. universal health coverage;

  2. strengthening health systems, including through increased health financing, development and training of the health workforce, and access to safe, affordable, effective and quality medicines, vaccines and medical technologies;

  3. ensuring affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all;

  4. dissemination of medical and public health knowledge, including traditional knowledge;

  5. elimination of preventable child and maternal deaths;

  6. significant reduction of child morbidity;

  7. End the HIV/AIDS epidemic;

  8. preventing and treating communicable diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases;

  9. addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) inter alia through promoting healthy diets and lifestyles, including for youth;

  10. tackling environmental causes of disease;

  11. access to sexual and reproductive health, including modern methods of family planning;

  12. providing for the health needs of persons with disabilities, youth, migrants, and ageing populations;

  13. eliminating harmful practices;

  14. reducing road accidents; and

  15. appropriate means of implementation*.


  • Health is a right and a goal in its own right, as well as a means of measuring success across the whole sustainable development agenda. It encompasses broad well-being, not merely the absence of disease.

  • Reference was made to universal health coverage; equitable access to quality basic health services; health promotion, prevention, treatment, and financial risk protection. Health MDGs could be integrated as targets under an overarching universal health goal.

  • Communicable diseases still burden many countries, but non-communicable diseases increasingly affect all countries, highlighting the need to promote healthy diets and lifestyles. There is a need to address access and health needs of persons with disabilities.

  • The discussions highlighted the importance of equal access of women and girls to health-care services, including addressing women’s sexual and reproductive health, and ensuring universal access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning.

  • Ageing populations are a major health care challenge for many countries. There is an overlap between health risks facing the young and the old.

  • Demographic realities facing different regions of the world are divergent – there can be no uniform prescription for responding to population dynamics. But demography is not destiny. Developing countries with growing youth populations can reap a demographic dividend, but will need complementary policies to foster economic dynamism and job creation.

  • Migration can bring development benefits, as well as challenges, including the loss of skilled labour and social integration of migrants.

The above was taken from the United Nations Sustainability web site:

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