SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
Fast aid during the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the close interrelationship between countries, transport and the economy at a global level. People are affected by the crisis around the world. While even in industrialised countries, the healthcare systems are reaching their limits and economies are stagnating, developing countries are battling far more serious economic and humanitarian consequences. Without healthy populations there can be no sustainable development and no economic progress, as the United Nations formulates in its Sustainable Development Goal 3: “To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
KfW Development Bank continues to tackle this enormous task today. It is supporting the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme. In 2020, it put around EUR 4 billion of commitments towards helping partner countries to fight the pandemic and continuing to support their healthcare sectors. The aim is to create and expand laboratory and testing capacity, equip hospitals to deal with the pandemic and protect medical staff, while also developing crisis monitoring systems in the longer term. In some cases, entire emergency hospitals are being built to provide short-term relief. Hygiene and protection kits are being made available to the public. At the same time, KfW is supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and financing programmes designed to stabilise the socio-economic situation in developing countries and expand their social systems.
Although the coronavirus continues to pose a major health challenge for the world one year on from its global emergence, other medical problems have not disappeared, especially in developing countries; there has been progress in maternal and infant mortality but some 300,000 women still lose their lives each year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly 18,000 people die every day from poverty-related diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. In addition, many healthcare systems face the dual challenge of communicable and chronic diseases, which are also on the rise in developing countries. The indirect impacts of COVID-19 are dramatic: poverty has already increased worldwide, leading to higher mortality, undernutrition and increased vulnerability across the board. Because many laboratories have had to devote their entire capacity to COVID-19 tests, other illnesses such as tuberculosis are being diagnosed too late or not at all.
The pandemic reminds us how closely linked the health of people in developed and developing countries is. But it also illuminates an even broader context: the healthcare sector is closely tied to the other sectors in society. Moreover, the current crisis shows that human, animal and environmental health form a single unit – with a very considerable impact on the goal of sustainable development. The concept, which KfW also incorporates, has gained in importance on the political agenda.
In 2020 KfW – mainly on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – committed close to EUR 1.5 billion to projects that help to improve the health of people in partner countries. 10 million people will receive first-time or improved access to healthcare services as a result. The current pandemic calls for these efforts to be intensified and more focused, which is why KfW is continuing to support the BMZ’s Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme in 2021. 118 projects in 42 countries, and 22 (inter)regional approaches are already helping to combat the coronavirus pandemic. But even when the coronavirus is defeated, the challenges on the road to achieving SDG 3 remain great.