The World Health Organization(WHO) has warned in its 2020 World Health Statistics report that the Covid-19 pandemic could be a setback to progress made towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Sputnik quoted WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's remarks in the report where he acknowledged that significant progress has been made on the health front but the rate of progress is slower than what is desirable and would be off set due to the pandemic. "The good news is that people around the world are living longer and healthier lives. The bad news is the rate of progress is too slow to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and will be further thrown off track by COVID-19," he said.
The 2020 World Health Statistics estimates that almost a billion people worldwide will be spending at least 10 percent of their budgets on health this year, especially those in lower middle-income nations.
WHO's Assistant Director General Samira Asma in her remarks stressed on the urgent need for developing primary health care facilities in the developing world "The message from this report is clear: as the world battles the most serious pandemic in 100 years, just a decade away from the SDG deadline, we must act together to strengthen primary health care and focus on the most vulnerable among us in order to eliminate the gross inequalities," WHO's Assistant Director General Samira Asma said.
The UN health agency notes that life expectancy in low-income countries rose by 11 years between 2000 and 2016 due to improved access to tuberculosis, HIV and malaria treatments and a significant decrease in infant mortality.
Lack of immunisation has been flagged as a major area of concern by the UN body, not only in this year's report but repeatedly over the years. The report feels that previous gains made against diseases such as malaria could be reversed due to inadequate immunisation programmes.
The report notes that a short fall of medical services has made difficult the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart and lung diseases and stroke. As per WHO estimates these diseases together accounted for 70 percent of all global deaths in 2016, with 85 percent of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries.
Dr Tedros emphasized on sufficient investments on healthcare systems as the best defence againt pandemics such as Covid-19. "The pandemic highlights the urgent need for all countries to invest in strong health systems and primary health care, as the best defense against outbreaks like COVID-19... Health systems and health security are two sides of the same coin," he explained.