The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent an exponential advance from the Millennium Development Goals, with a substantially broader agenda affecting all nations and requiring coordinated global actions.

Human capital is recognised as the level of education and health in a population and is considered an important determinant of economic growth. The World Bank has called for measurement and annual reporting of human capital to track and motivate investments in health and education and enhance productivity.

In 2008, WHO launched the final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) that concluded “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale”.

Given the scale of unmet need and the constraints of India’s low government budgets, it will be essential that India’s universal health coverage (UHC) strategy is efficient and equitable. India must invest heavily in primary health care (PHC) services, where health returns are greatest.

The Government of India recently launched the ambitious National Health Protection Mission, also referred to as Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, or Modicare. This scheme has two main pillars: strengthening of universal comprehensive primary health care and a health insurance scheme to cover 500 million people in need to reduce catastrophic out-of-pocket health spending.

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A key component of achieving universal health coverage is ensuring that all populations have access to quality health care. Examining where gains have occurred or progress has faltered across and within countries is crucial to guiding decisions and strategies for future improvement. We used the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016 (GBD 2016) to assess personal health-care access and quality with the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index for 195 countries and territories, as well as subnational locations in seven countries, from 1990 to 2016.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for one in every three deaths, with nearly half of deaths in lower-income countries among people younger than 70 years. WHO has identified the elimination of industrially produced trans fat (an artificial product contained in partially hydrogenated oils) from the food supply as an effective and cost-effective intervention to prevent cardiovascular disease.3 Industrially produced trans fat causes an estimated 540 000 deaths each year worldwide.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are essential for sustainable development because of their links to gender equality and women’s wellbeing, their impact on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, and their roles in shaping future economic development and environmental sustainability. Yet progress towards fulfilling SRHR for all has been stymied because of weak political commitment, inadequate resources, persistent discrimination against women and girls, and an unwillingness to address issues related to sexuality openly and comprehensively.

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide— three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.

In 2015, the second cycle of the CONCORD programme established global surveillance of cancer survival as a metric of the effectiveness of health systems and to inform global policy on cancer control. CONCORD-3 updates the worldwide surveillance of cancer survival to 2014.

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