Sustainable Development Goals

Charting progress towards SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Visualising global and regional trends

Adopted in 2015 by all United Nations (UN) members, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a global agenda for making the world a better place by 2030. They are described by the UN as a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet‘, and goals are to be achieved by all countries, in global partnership, by 2030.

This page provides a selection of visualisations on global and regional trends for Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

The visualisations use the latest official data from the United Nations SDG Global Database.

Target 3.1

By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births


3.1.1Maternal mortality ratio
3.1.2Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel

Maternal mortality

The latest figures from 2017 show that the overall global maternal mortality ratio was 211 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The maternal mortality ratio has declined over the last decades, and the level in 2017 was 37% lower than in 2000. Still, based on the current trend, the target of reducing the ratio to no less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 is not expected to be reached.

Although all regions have seen a decline in the maternal mortality ratio, the level in Sub-Saharan Africa significantly higher than in other regions, with 560 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017. Europe and Northern America as well as Oceania are the only regions below the 2030 threshold of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Note that the regional groupings used in the visualisation above (and all other visualisations on this page with regional data) follow the UN regional classification for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Delivery coverage

Globally, 84% of births from 2015-2021 were assisted by skilled health personnel, an increase from the average share between 2008-2014 and 2001-2007.

All regions have seen an increase in the share of births attended by skilled health personnel, although the UN cautions in its latest SDG progress report that: "Available data does not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the disruption of services, which may reverse gains made over the past decades."

As with the maternal mortality ratio, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the most challenging situation, with only 2 of 3 births attended by skilled health personnel on average between 2015-2021.

Target 3.2

By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births


3.2.1Under-5 mortality rate
3.2.2Neonatal mortality rate

Under-5 mortality rate

Progress has been made in reducing child mortality worldwide. In 2020, the global average was 37 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 76 in 2000. All regions have seen a decline in the under-5 mortality rate. The target of reducing the child mortality rate to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030 is within reach given current trends.

Neo-natal mortality rate

The world is also making progress toward reducing the neonatal mortality rate. From 2000 to 2020 it has fallen from 25 to 17 deaths per 1,000 live births. To reach the target of reducing the neonatal mortality rate to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2030, the world is dependent on further progress being made in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia.

Target 3.3

By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases


3.3.1Number of new HIV infections per 1,000 uninfected population
3.3.2Tuberculosis incidence per 100,000 population
3.3.3Malaria incidence per 1,000 population
3.3.4Hepatitis B incidence per 100,000 population
3.3.5Number of people requiring interventions against neglected tropical diseases

Pogress has also been made toward reducing the incidence of communicable diseases. However, the current progress will not be sufficient to reach the target of ending the prevalence of the communicable diseases included in this target by 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest incidence rates.

Importantly, in addition to the above diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on global health over the past two years. As of mid-2022, it has infected more than half a billion people resulting in more than 6 million deaths, with the number of "excess deaths" directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19 are estimated to be three times as high. In addition to this comes the wider impact on health systems and society as the UN points out in its 2022 SDG (preliminary) progress report:

The pandemic has severely disrupted essential health services, shortened life expectancy, and exacerbated inequities between countries and people in access to basic health services, threatening to undo years of progress in some health areas.

Target 3.4

By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being


3.4.1Mortality rate attributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease
3.4.2Suicide mortality rate

According to the latest UN data, the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs), cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory disease, caused over 33 million deaths worldwide in 2019.

The mortality rate is defined as the probability of dying from any of the four main NCDs between the age of 30 and 70, and has declined slowly in recent years. From 23% in 2000, to 19% in 2015 and 18% in 2019.

Yet, the current rate of decline will not be sufficient to reach the target of reducing the mortality rate by one-third by 2030, compared to 2015 levels. This is despite all regions making some progress since 2015.

The second indicator for this target, the suicide mortality rate, shows a similar development. Over the last years, there has not been enough progress made to reach the target of reducing it by one-third by 2030. In 2000 it stood at 13 deaths from suicide per 100,000 population, which decrease to 9.5 in 2015 and 9.2 in 2019. Europe and Northern America is the region with the highest suicide rate.

Given that the latest data is from 2019, the UN warns in its 2022 SDG status report that:

Although the available data do not show an increase in suicide rates during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic has had a severe impact on the mental health and well-being of people around the world. In 2020, there was an 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. 

Target 3.5

Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol


3.5.1Coverage of treatment interventions (pharmacological, psychosocial and rehabilitation and aftercare services) for substance use disorders
3.5.2Alcohol per capita consumption (aged 15 years and older) within a calendar year in litres of pure alcohol

No recent data is available at a global and regional level for the coverage of treatment interventions.

Data from 2019 shows that alcohol consumption globally is higher than at the start of the century. Europe and Northern America have the highest consumption, measured in liters of pure alcohol per capita.

Data on substance abuse other than alcohol is not available.

Target 3.6

By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents


3.6.1Death rate due to road traffic injuries

1.3 million people were killed from road injuries globally in 2019, compared to 1.15 million in 2000. Despite the absolute increase, the rate of death relative to the size of the global population has, however, decreased over the past two decades. In 2000 it stood at 19 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to 16.7 in 2019.

This indicates that road safety has improved in light of increasing population growth and increased motorization worldwide. Yet, the target of halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic was not reached by 2020. The target has been extended to 2030.

According to the WHO, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

At a regional level, Europe and Northern America is the region that has made most progress toward reducing death rates caused by road traffic injuries over the past two decades.

Target 3.7

By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes


3.7.1Proportion of women of reproductive age (aged 15–49 years) who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods
3.7.2Adolescent birth rate (aged 10–14 years; aged 15–19 years) per 1,000 women in that age group

77% of women of reproductive age had their family planning needs met by modern contraceptive methods in 2021. The share has remained stable for the last few years at a global level, yet at a regional level it has increased in several regions. The largest increase has been observed in Sub-Saharan Africa (from 36% in 2000 to 56% of women in 2021).

The adolescent birth rate, measured as births per 1,000 adolescent women from 15-19 years, has fallen steadily over the past two decades. The rates have declined in all regions, except Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (which already had one of the lowest levels.)

Note that no concrete target for 2030 has been set for either the adolescent birth rate nor the share of women who have their family planning needs met.

Target 3.8

Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all


3.8.1Coverage of essential health services
3.8.2Proportion of population with large household expenditures on health as a share of total household expenditure or income

Coverage of essential health services is measured by the WHO Universal Health Care Service Index Coverage. The index is reported on a scale from 0 to 100, where a higher score means a higher coverage. The 14 indicators that form part of the index include 1. Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health 2. Infectious diseases 3. Noncommunicable diseases 4. Service capacity and access to essential health services.

From 2000 to 2019 the average global score has improved from 45 to 67 meaning more people have gained access to essential services. All regions have also improved their index score over this period. Data for 2020 and 2021 will most likely be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the UN expecting the progress to halt.

The latest data on household expenditures on health is from 2017, showing that already going into the pandemic, a rising share of the global population was having large out-of-pocket household expenditures on health (defined as spending more than 10% on household budget on health). The share has risen in most regions, with the largest increase in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

Target 3.9

By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination


3.9.1Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution
3.9.2Mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene (exposure to unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (WASH) services)
3.9.3Mortality rate attributed to unintentional poisoning

At a global level, the mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution was 105 persons per 100,000 population in 2019. The mortality rate was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (171) and lowest in Europe and Northern America (28).

The mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, sanitation, and lack of hygiene was at the global level of 18 persons per 100,000 population in 2019. In most regions, it was below 10 per 100,000, while it was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (49) and Central and Southern Asia (32) in 2019.

The third indicator, mortality attributed to unintentional poisoning, has declined slightly over the past two decades. Unintentional poisoning is defined as death caused by chemicals, pesticides, kerosene, carbon monoxide and medicines, or can be the result of environmental contamination or occupational chemical exposure. Compared to 2000, all regions have lower mortality rates in the latest year available (2019).

Target 3.a

Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate


3.a.1Age-standardized prevalence of current tobacco use among persons aged 15 years and older

The global average tobacco use rate has declined steadily. In 2020, about one-fifth of the global population was using tobacco. Rates have declined in all regions and were lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa (10%) in 2020.

Target 3.b

Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all


3.b.1Proportion of the target population covered by all vaccines included in their national programme
3.b.2Total net official development assistance to medical research and basic health sectors
3.b.3Proportion of health facilities that have a core set of relevant essential medicines available and affordable on a sustainable basis

Vaccine coverage

There are four types of vaccines that are tracked in the global SDG indicator framework: coverage of DTP containing vaccine, coverage of Measles containing vaccine, coverage of Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and the HPV vaccine. Global coverage levels of all these vaccines have been on the rise in the last two decades. The UN SDG status report 2022 highlights three main points:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disruptive effort on vaccinations, with infant immunization coverage dropping to 83% in 2020 from 86% in 2019.
  2. The current global coverage level of the measles vaccine (70%) is insufficient to prevent measles outbreaks illness, disability and deaths caused by complications associated with the disease.
  3. The HPV vaccine, targeting young girls to prevent cervical cancer, has a global coverage level of 12% but with large regional differences and has not yet reached the poorest countries.

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Data for net ODA to medical research and basic health sectors is available from 2010, showing a doubling in total net disbursements from 2010 to 2020.

Health facilities

Data for this indicator is currently not available at the global or regional level.

Target 3.c

Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States


3.c.1Health worker density and distribution

There is no set target for 2030 for the indicator of health worker density. Yet, data for 2020 show large differences in healthcare worker density across regions. In Europe, there were almost 40 medical doctors per 10,000 population, in Sub-Saharan Africa only 2, and in South and South-Eastern Asia 8.

Target 3.d

Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks


3.d.1International Health Regulations (IHR) capacity and health emergency preparedness
3.d.2Percentage of bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial-resistant organisms

Since 2010, data has been collected on the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR). Under the IHR states are obliged to develop and maintain a range of minimum core capacities for potential public health events of international concern. Capacity is measured through an IHR capacity scores which as of 2021 cover 15 areas:

(1) Policy, legal and normative instruments to implement IHR; (2) IHR Coordination and National Focal Point Functions; (3) Financing; (4) Laboratory; (5) Surveillance; (6) Human resources; (7) Health emergency management (8) Health Service Provision; (9) Infection Prevention and Control; (10) Risk communication and community engagement; (11) Points of entry and border health; (12) Zoonotic diseases; (13) Food safety; (14) Chemical events; (15) Radiation emergencies.

The indicator set has been revised over the years, most recently in 2021. The below figure with the latest data shows that the current global average score (for all 15 capacities) was 64 out of 100, with Sub-Saharan Africa lowest at 48 and Australia and New Zealand highest at 87 out of 100.

Data on the second indicator, bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial-resistant organisms, is limited to a few years. A comparison between levels in 2016 and 2020 shows a rising trend in the share of bloodstream infections due to MRSA and Escherichia coli at the global level.

About the data

The data presented on global and regional trends are from the UN SDG Global Database.


  • First release November 2022

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