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World's Nations Make Progress on Some, But Not All, Health Goals
More than 60 percent of the world's nations are expected to meet some of their health targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. They include reducing child and maternal deaths and deaths from malaria. However, fewer than five percent are projected to meet their targets on reducing the number of overweight children, tuberculosis infections and traffic deaths.
The news comes in a report published Wednesday by the British journal The Lancet that analyzed health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries. The 17 wide-ranging goals spearheaded by the U.N. focus on improving health and education, ending poverty, combating climate change, making cities more sustainable and protecting oceans and forests.
Singapore, Iceland and Sweden were the highest performing countries in the health-related goals. Somalia, Central African Republic and Afghanistan ranked lowest. Nordic and other European countries plus Australia, Canada, Antigua and Barbuda rank in the top 20. The U.S. ranks 24th.
The report, which was funded by the U.S. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the findings should help shape policies in order to address long-standing and emerging health challenges.
Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation and a professor of global health at the University of Washington, was the lead author.
Murray said in The Lancet: "China, Cambodia and many other middle and low-income nations deserve recognition for improving their citizens’ lives, as evidenced by impressive improvements in under-five mortality, neonatal mortality, vaccine coverage, maternal mortality, and malaria.”
The report was prepared ahead of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, beginning in New York later this month.