Projections based on current burdens of disease, along with data from the preceding 26 years, show both vast inequalities of progress, as well as the likelihood of limited success across both wealthy and low-income countries in meeting specific goals to improve health care and health access around the world by 2030.
The projections from a review published online Tuesday in The Lancet, measured progress in 188 countries from 1990 to 2016 on 37 of 50 health indicators that now are included in health related targets to be met in the next decade and a half as part of a foundation for sustainable worldwide development. The targets, specific rates of reductions in deaths and diseases, as well as of immunization, medicine access, and medical service coverage make up critical components of the Sustainable Development Goals set by United Nations members in 2015.
But, the review found, no country is currently positioned to meet more than 13 of the 37 health-related targets, and 11 health-related targets will be met by only 5 percent of the 188 countries. No country is projected to reach the goal of eliminating new tuberculosis cases by 2030. Hopes of controlling HIV without improved, increased, and more efficient use of resources are only slightly more hopeful with just 7 percent of countries projected to reduce HIV incidence to the level necessary to eliminate the virus as a global health threat.
While more than 60 percent of the countries reviewed were projected to reduce child and newborn deaths, increase childhood vaccination coverage, and drop rates of malaria incidence sufficiently to meet 2030 goals for those indicators, at least half of the countries had already met those goals by the end of 2016.
The authors of the report note that while the SDGs were based on an overarching goal of “leaving no one behind” disparate progress and resources ensure that is what will happen under current projections, which show wealthy countries faring better across many indicators, including HIV than many low-income countries, and countries that receive limited donor support. Fortunately, they note, both policy and funding decisions surrounding the SDGs have just begun, giving leaders worldwide a chance to assess current challenges and projections, as well as the likelihood of new challenges, as they craft their responses.