World lags badly on tar­gets to slash TB, HIV and obe­sity

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Not a sin­gle coun­try, out of nearly 200 re­viewed, was on track to meet the UN tar­get of elim­i­nat­ing new tu­ber­cu­lo­sis in­fec­tions by 2030, ac­cord­ing to a global health re­view pub­lished yes­ter­day. At the same time, less than five per­cent of coun­tries were likely to reach the UN goal of re­duc­ing sui­cides, road deaths and child obe­sity by that date, and only seven per­cent would likely elim­i­nate new HIV in­fec­tions. Over­all, only a fifth of 37 health-re­lated tar­gets set un­der the UN’s Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, are likely to be met, said the re­view car­ried by The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal. “A num­ber of tar­gets re­mained out of reach for most coun­tries,” the au­thors wrote.

Un­der the re­view, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, more than 2,500 re­searchers from around the world scored the health progress of 188 coun­tries, and pro­jected their tra­jec­tory to 2030.The pro­jec­tions “un­der­score the need for dra­matic, if not un­prece­dented, ac­cel­er­a­tion of progress to im­prove health out­comes, re­duce risk ex­po­sure, and ex­pand es­sen­tial health ser­vices for all coun­tries,” the au­thors said. They team found “con­sid­er­able in­equal­ity” be­tween pro­jec­tions for rich and poor coun­tries.

High-in­come coun­tries were forecast to meet 38 per­cent of the UN’s health-re­lated tar­gets, com­pared to three per­cent for low-in­come states. They also were not deal­ing with the same prob­lems. Poor coun­tries fared poorly on ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity, child stunting, malaria and en­vi­ron­men­tal risks that af­fected rich na­tions less. But when it comes to life­style prob­lems, many high­in­come coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, fared poorly on mea­sures for sui­cide, al­co­hol abuse and homi­cide.

China im­prov­ing, US not

Look­ing to the fu­ture, the re­view said ef­forts to erad­i­cate malaria and re­duce deaths of in­fants and preg­nant women were among the most promis­ing, with more than 60 per­cent of coun­tries pro­jected to meet UN goals for all three. “On the ba­sis of cur­rent trends, Kaza­khstan, Ti­mor-Leste, An­gola, Nige­ria and Swazi­land were pro­jected to have the largest over­all im­prove­ments,” the team said in a state­ment.

This was driven by cuts in child mor­tal­ity and bet­ter ac­cess to health care, fam­ily plan­ning and birth as­sis­tance. Coun­tries ex­pected to lose ground-con­sid­er­ing trends for child obe­sity and al­co­hol abuse-in­cluded Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Ser­bia and Ukraine. The re­port named China and Cam­bo­dia among mid­dle- and low-in­come coun­tries de­serv­ing of “recog­ni­tion for im­prov­ing their cit­i­zens’ lives”. — AFP

AGARTALA: This file photo shows an In­dian tu­ber­cu­lo­sis pa­tient pos­ing as he sits in a bed at a govern­ment hos­pi­tal in Agartala on World Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis Day. —AFP

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