A person receiving a vaccination-shot, next to it the icon of SDG 3: Health and well-being

    SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being

    More commitment to the precious commodity of health

    The COVID-19 pandemic shows how tightly interconnected we are on a global scale – the virus has been able to jump from continent to continent with remarkable speed. And after the pandemic is before the pandemic: COVID-19 was not the first infectious disease with global consequences and the scientific community agrees that it is only a matter of time before the next pandemic. In view of the close global interconnection of states, transport and the economy, it is therefore important to be prepared. With healthcare systems reaching their limits and economies stagnating even in industrialised countries, developing countries were struggling with far more serious consequences. This still hampers sustainable development and economic progress. Consequently, SDG 3, in which the United Nations strives to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, therefore needs global efforts, especially in pandemic prevention.

    Even if pandemics and the fight against them are now in the spotlight – the previous health challenges still exist. What's more, the high utilisation of health systems by COVID-19 exposed the shortcomings - not least because resources were temporarily shifted within the already weak systems to fight the pandemic. As a result, access to other essential services such as tuberculosis control or sexual and reproductive health promotion deteriorated significantly. Currently, more than half of the world's population has no access to basic health services – so the international community is a long way from achieving SDG 3 by 2030.

    COVID-19 as well as the current multiple crises in the areas of energy and food as well as armed conflicts have exacerbated poverty worldwide. In addition, a change in global and national priorities is already becoming apparent – at the expense of social sectors such as health. The consequences are higher mortality rates, undernourishment and a general increase in vulnerability. Poverty, in turn, heightens the risk of becoming ill – and in many countries, it also means that inadequate treatment or no treatment at all are the only affordable options.

    In addition to infectious diseases, chronic, non-communicable diseases are also on the rise in developing countries. This is related to changes in dietary and lifestyle habits, increasing life expectancy, and the consequences of climate change. Chronic diseases come at a high economic cost, which is why it is important to strengthen the healthcare systems of developing countries, including in terms of their financial resources.

    The pandemic and also the consequences of climate change show us that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked. Thanks to KfW’s One Health concept and the inclusion of climate factors, these understanding are increasingly being incorporated into the planning and implementation of projects, particularly in the areas of agriculture, the environment, biodiversity and human health.

    In 2023 KfW – largely acting on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – committed around EUR 966 million to projects that help improve health in partner countries.

    Of this, EUR 308 million were spent on projects in the health sector focusing on

    • the resilience of malnourished women and children,
    • the development, production and improved availability of innovative medicines and technologies in the fight against poverty-related diseases and
    • physical self-determination and better care around pregnancy and childbirth.

    The new projects launched in the sector between 2019 and 2023 have a total volume of EUR 3.72 billion. Of this, EUR 3.28 billion were allocated to the healthcare funding area and EUR 418 million (11%) to population programmes and reproductive health.

    In view of the effects of climate change and increasing fragility in a number of KfW's partner countries, their need for support will remain high. During the COVID-19 crisis, KfW has proven that it is able to mobilise market funds at short notice and implement budget funds quickly. It is also successfully involved in mobilising private capital for global health and goods in the form of funds, impact investment platforms and access programmes, thus helping to ensure that new quality-assured and urgently needed medicines, diagnostics or vaccines increasingly find their way to less privileged countries.

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