Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

Sustainable Development Goal 3 seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life. The Goal addresses all major health priorities, including reproductive, maternal and child health; communicable, non-communicable and environmental diseases; universal health coverage; and access for all to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines. It also calls for more research and development, increased health financing, and strengthened capacity of all countries in health risk reduction and management.

Space technologies are essential in a range of health applications, including, but not limited to:

  • Studying disease epidemiology, by enabling increased use of spatial analysis to identify the ecological, environmental and other factors that contribute to the spread of vector-borne diseases, monitoring disease patterns and defining areas that require disease-control planning
  • Addressing issues related to vision, cognition and disability assistance
  • Monitoring factors that affect human health and well-being, like air quality and traffic
  • Supporting health promotion and disease prevention, through the use of wearable monitoring devices
  • Enabling remote healthcare

Overall, space technologies can contribute to the prevention of people falling below the poverty line and help target specific support to those in need.

Read more about the STSC Working Group on Space and Global Health



Quick Facts .

  • Some medical research can only be performed in orbit, aboard the space station, where there is only microgravity. The same weightlessness that lets space-suited astronauts move massive objects easily also offers a unique learning opportunity, as in the case of zero-gravity's effects on astronauts' skeletal systems and loss of bone and muscle mass. For example, due to extreme bone loss, experiments in space offer a unique opportunity to develop a cure for osteoporosis.

  • Microgravity allows unique conditions for growth of protein crystals where there is no gravity or convection to disrupt their growth. The protein expressed in certain muscle fibers of patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which affects 1 in 3,500 boys, has been successfully crystallized in space revealing a new inhibitor several hundred times stronger than the prototype inhibitor.

  • A surgical instrument inspired by the Canadian Space Agency's heavy-lifting and maneuvering robotic arms on the space station is in clinical trials for use in patients with breast cancer. The Image-Guided Autonomous Robot works inside an MRI machine to help accurately identify the size and location of a tumor.

Space for Global Health


Globally, about 1400 infectious diseases afflict the human population; some of them are the most important causes of death in developing countries. Half of the world's population lives in affected areas.

UNOOSA, through advisory and financial assistance, helps space agencies and research institutions in developing countries to expand their knowledge and use of space applications to overcome global health challenges.

The Programme on Space Applications provides practical assistance to Member States to use satellite remote sensing, global positioning, GIS and satellite communications to integrate ecological, environmental and habitation data into models for disease surveillance and control activities and develop collaboration with relevant entities such as the World Health Organisation.

Furthermore, UNOOSA organises international conferences, workshops and expert meetings on the use of space technologies for global health, addressing issues like tele-health, infection surveillance and space cooperation for global health, and facilitates discussion through its relevant Working Group on Health Plans.

Read more about Space and Global Health

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