Health in 2015: from MDGs, Millennium Development Goals to SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals
(2015; 216 pages)


This report aims to describe global health in 2015, looking back 15 years at the trends and positive forces during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era and assessing the main challenges for the coming 15 years.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is of unprecedented scope and ambition, applicable to all countries, and goes well beyond the MDGs. While poverty eradication, health, education, and food security and nutrition remain priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise a broad range of economic, social and environmental objectives, and offer the prospect of more peaceful and inclusive societies. Progress towards the MDGs, on the whole, has been remarkable, including, for instance, poverty reduction, education improvements and increased access to safe drinking-water. Progress on the three health goals and targets has also been considerable. Globally, the HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria epidemics were “turned around”, child mortality and maternal mortality decreased greatly (53% and 44%, respectively, since 1990), despite falling short of the MDG targets.

Access to quality essential medical products – including medicines, vaccines, blood and blood products, and medical devices – is critical to achieving UHC. In all four areas, it is possible to point to some positive trends in the past 15 years, in terms of access and use in health service delivery. However, major challenges remain.

Improving access to essential medicines is part of MDG 8 and progress was monitored by the MDG gap task force. Medicines expenditures account for 10% of health spending in high-income countries, and for up to 50% of health spending in low- and middle-income countries; between 50% and 80% of medicines spending in LMIC is out-ofpocket payments. Based on data from 26 surveys in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, using the standardized WHO/HAI methodology, generic medicines were available in 58% and 67% of public and private sector health facilities, respectively, with large variation between countries. Access to vaccines and rapid diagnostics such as malaria and HIV tests also greatly improved.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 1, 2019