Strategy for Health 2016-2030

UNICEF operates in more than 130 countries, where it works to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet children’s basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.


Tremendous progress in maternal and child health has been achieved over the past two decades. The global under-five mortality rate has dropped 53 per cent since 19901 and global maternal mortality has fallen by 44 per cent over the same time period. Despite these achievements, inequities remain both among and within countries. In addition to a continuing communicable disease burden, incidence and prevalence of non-communicable causes of death and disability are unacceptably high in low- and middle-income countries.

Furthermore, the contexts in which children live are changing. Children in 2030 will live in a world that is older, more urban and more interconnected. With fertility rates dropping and life expectancies rising, children’s share of the world’s population will decline and dependency ratios will increase. At the same time, income growth will shift children into wealthier, but not necessarily healthier, environments. State fragility is also expected to persist in countries that struggle with extreme poverty and weak governance. In addition, emergencies, including public health emergencies and those stemming from environmental causes, are expected to increase in frequency.

In recognizing these trends and defining a vision for the future, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a call to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” through ending mortality from conditions covered by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), addressing emerging issues such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and achieving universal health coverage.

To support achievement of these goals, the United Nations Secretary General launched the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, expanding the focus from the MDG era on ending preventable deaths (“Survive”) to also ensuring health and well-being (“Thrive”) and expanded enabling environments (“Transform”). Guided by the SDGs and the Global Strategy, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), UNICEF envisions a world where no child dies from a preventable disease and all children reach their full potential in health and well-being. 

Strategy for Health 2016-2030
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