Dear Mankind and most favoured of my children,
You will recall my earliest blogs ( mother Earth blogs ) welcomed the Global initiative to develop the Sustainable Development Goals to help create a safer and fairer world and I was happy that mankind had at last understood the urgent need to live more sustainably and harmoniously with other living things on this, our only, home planet. Some good progress was starting to be being made in some areas but sadly most of this encouraging activity was brought to an abrupt halt by the COVID 19 Pandemic.
This blog on SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being is the 3rd of a series of updates to review the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the aspirations and targets of each of the original 17 SDGS and to look ahead to the prospects in each sector.
Many Global health indicators were moving in the right direction during the last 2 decades- mother and child health had improved, immunization coverage had increased and incidence of non- communicable diseases had reduced. Then came Covid 19 and halted or even reversed many of the gains that had been achieved during the last 20 years. Despite over 2 years of dealing with the pandemic, over 90% of countries report that they are still suffering some disruption to their essential health services. The pandemic has shortened life expectancy around the world and as at mid 2021, Covid 19 had resulted in 3.7 million deaths globally and the tens of millions of survivors may have lingering health effects and long-term disability with lung scarring and damaged hearts.
Although Global under 5 deaths rate halved during 2000-2019 from 76 to 38 deaths / 1000 live births , by 2019,there were still 5.2 million child deaths before they reached their 5th birthday – with almost half ( 2.4 million ) occurring during the first month of life . It is estimated that disruption to health services resulting from the Pandemic may have contributed to 228,000 additional child deaths and an additional 11,000 maternal deaths.
The disruption to normal essential health services and diversion of resources to fight the pandemic has significantly increased risks to those with non-communicable diseases( NCD )
( cardiovascular , cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases). Between 2010 – 2019 the risk of dying from the 4 main NCD for people 30-70 reduced from 19.9% to 17.8% and if that trend could have been maintained during 2020-2030, the 2030 SDG target of reducing NCD mortality by 1/3rd would have been achieved. Sadly the reduction in essential health services combined with the extra risk due to Covid 19 has significantly increased the risks for this vulnerable group. Similarly, the significant global health gains achieved over recent decades in reducing the incidence of HIV, TB and Malaria , have been stalled and in some cases reversed, due to the reduction in relevant health services as countries redirect their medical resources towards coping with the Covid 19 Pandemic
Sadly this pandemic has undone or at the very least halted the excellent work that had been done to improve Global health . Until covid 19 is defeated or at least made significantly less severe , it is unlikely that the global health targets are going to be met
Sources : The Sustainable Development Goals Reports 2019 -2021 , United nations , New York