From MDGs to SDGs: New Impetus to Advance Health in Iran

February 6, 2020

Problem: The sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their associated targets and indicators provide a global framework for advancing health in development, which must be adapted to the needs of each country.

Approach: Building on previous experience with millennium development goals (MDGs), the Islamic Republic of Iran is advancing health under the SDGs by targeting non-communicable diseases, which accounted for 70% of deaths in Iran in 2016, giving particular emphasis to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

Local Setting: The national population and sub-populations of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Relevant Changes: The interlink ages between the principal health goal (SDG 3) and all other goals are a stimulus to seek benefits for health from multisectoral action, working across the whole of government and within civil society. Iran’s sustainable development agenda embraces health in 12 of 17 SDGs, and aims to track progress using 56 of 230 defined indicators. These take account of the health benefits of reducing poverty, hunger and low literacy, and from healthier strategies for agriculture, education, transport, housing and employment. We present baseline statistics for these indicators, covering the period of 1990 - 2015.

Lessons Learnt: Placing health in the context of sustainable development facilitates Iran’s goal of improving prevention alongside treatment, tackling the underlying social, economic and environmental determinants of health by working across the whole of government. The way forward is advocating for shared responsibility for health and evidence-informed participatory decision making mechanisms, strengthening and sharing information databases.