Equity and Noncommunicable Disease Reduction under the Sustainable Development Goals

Harald Schmidt, Anne Barnhill
PLoS Med 12(9):e1001872. 
Published: September 8, 2015

Abstract / Resumen:
• Currently proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a timely call to significantly reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
• Existing policy guidance highlights cost-effective interventions for NCDs, but focusing just on cost-effectiveness risks exacerbating socioeconomic and health inequalities rather than reducing them.
• In implementing the SDGs, targets and interventions that benefit the worst off should be prioritized.
• The United Nations should develop practical guidance to assist policy makers at the country level with incorporating equity considerations.

Introduction/ Introducción:
Healthy life expectancy at birth in Sierra Leone is 46 years. In Japan, it is 84 years [1]. The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out ambitious objectives to reduce such and further inequalities. Despite criticism, the MDGs are widely praised for having galvanized national and international development efforts in unprecedented ways [2]. Currently proposed successor Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to address newly emerged policy issues and include a call to significantly reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs directly impact health inequality and poverty [1]. Their recognition is timely and to be welcomed categorically. However, ambiguity in the SDGs’ current guidance risks that states’ efforts to reduce NCDs exacerbate socioeconomic and health inequalities, rather than reduce them. We urge that more attention needs to be given to improving the situation of the worst off and make three concrete proposals towards this end.

Keywords / Palabras clave:
Equity in Health, Noncommunicable Diseases, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Health

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