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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

#Goal3: #GoodHealth and #WellBeing

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

Image credit: Alex Proimos

Image credit: Alex Proimos

One of Australia’s main political talking points is healthcare. We regard good health and well-being as an integral part of federal, state and territory policy. But what do the Global Goals say about them?

The good news is we have already achieved the first target of Goal 3 in Australia! We have reduced maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

Target 3.2 has also mostly been achieved in Australia with neo-natal mortality rates and under-5 mortality rates low. However, we still have part of Target 3.2 to achieve. By 2030, we need to end preventable death in children under five.

Causes of preventable death include motor vehicle accidents, drowning, falls and poisoning. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more children die from injury (36%) than cancer and diseases of the nervous system combined.

Next, the Global Goals aim to end epidemics: AIDS, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases. They aim to combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. While the epidemic of tuberculosis has been mostly controlled, other diseases are still a threat to many Australians.

Target 3.4 aims to reduce premature mortality due to non-communicable diseases by one third. In 2012, nearly 50,000 Australians died prematurely according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Of the top ten leading causes of premature death in Australia, eight of these are a non- communicable disease.Heart disease and many types of cancer feature on this list. Education and encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle are key to improving this statistic; however, we must also take inequality into consideration. Four out of five people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent die prematurely. It is vital we focus a large portion of our efforts on the populations most at risk.

It is also important to note Target 3.4 includes the promotion of mental health and well-being. In 2012, one in five deaths among Australian adults between the ages of 25 to 44 were due to suicide. Mental health is finally becoming something deemed acceptable to discuss in Australia, but we still have a long way to go to prevent suicides and provide better support to people who are battling mental health issues.

Image credit: Pepe Pont

Image credit: Pepe Pont

The Global Goals also mention harmful use of alcohol and substance abuse. Not only do the Global Goals address the issues we face today and look at strengthening treatment, they also look toward the future and discuss the importance of preventing Australians from abusing drugs and alcohol.Another leading cause of death in Australia is mortality from road traffic accidents. In 2015, over 1,200 people died due to road traffic accidents around the country. Our federal government has committed to halving this number by 2020. This means, in five years’ time, 600 lives will be saved each year.The Global Goals address sexual health and reproductive rights and access to information and education on sexual and reproductive healthcare. Unfortunately, there are still incidences of atrocities such as female genital mutilation in this country.

The Global Goals ask for a reduction in deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. This is very significant in Australia given the premature death rate due to accidental poisoning increased by 258% over 30 years from 1982 to 2012 in Australia.

How do we achieve this? The Global Goals recommend four methods of achieving these targets. First is to strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Next, we must support the research and development of vaccines and increase health financing as well as strengthen the capacity for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.

However, it is not enough to just focus on Australia. Goal 3 encourages developed countries to work with their developing neighbours to recruit, develop, train and retain health professionals. Health financing also needs to be increased when it comes to overseas aid to ensure the health and prosperity of our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region.

Image credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Image credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

You can play a vital role in this goal in one very simple way: take care of your own health! That’s right! If you focus on your own health and the health of your family, you can have a huge influence on whether you or a member of your family becomes one of these statistics. If each of us are able to lead a healthy lifestyle, this relieves a lot of the pressure from our health budget, so the government have the funds to focus on achieving the other goals!If you are passionate about good health and well-being in Australia and in our neighbouring countries, check out “Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being” and head over to our “What Can I Do?” page to see how you can become involved in achieving the Global Goals!

This article was originally published on the Global Goals Australia Campaign website.

#globalgoals #goal3 #goodhealth #wellbeing

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