In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The adoption of the new sustainable development goals included a range of targets to tackle the world’s health challenges.

As part of the Global Burden of Disease Study collaborative network we conducted research into what progress had been made towards the goals in 188 countries. To do this we developed an index built around the agreed goals and their targets.

The bottom line is that, with a few rare exceptions, Africa’s performance has been abysmal. Not a single African country featured among the top 10 countries that are making significant progress towards the sustainable development goals. And of the 10 countries at the bottom of the list, nine are on the African continent.

There are many lessons African countries will need to learn from countries that have performed well if they have any hope of attaining the sustainable development goal (SDG) targets by 2030.

And there is an urgent need to accelerate the pace of progress if the goals are to become a reality.

Analysing the goals and measuring the targets

A total of 17 sustainable development goals, along with their 169 targets and 230 indicators, were adopted at the United Nations summit on sustainable development with a deadline of 2030.

The goals replaced the millennium development goals which expired in 2015.

Goal three specifically relates to health and tackles maternal and child mortality, non-communicable diseases, universal health coverage and mental health. Ambitious targets were also set to end the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria by 2030. These three are Africa’s top infectious disease killers.

In addition to goal three, 10 of the other 16 sustainable development goals have health-related targets. This includes, for example, reducing poverty (goal one) and helping people to access clean water and sanitation (goal six).

Using the SDG targets as the baseline to analyse data from 188 countries we looked at how much progress each country had made to achieve the new targets. We used data collected between 2000 and 2015. Each country was allocated an overall SDG index score.

The index was created by scoring each of the 33 health-related SDG indicators and then combining them and giving a single value on a scale of zero to 100. The change in this score from year to year shows whether a country is progressing toward achieving SDG targets.

It is the first time the index is being used. Iceland scored the highest on the index, tallying 85.

In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The adoption of the new sustainable development goals included a range of targets to tackle the world’s health challenges.

As part of the Global Burden of Disease Study collaborative network we conducted research into what progress had been made towards the goals in 188 countries. To do this we developed an index built around the agreed goals and their targets.

The bottom line is that, with a few rare exceptions, Africa’s performance has been abysmal. Not a single African country featured among the top 10 countries that are making significant progress towards the sustainable development goals. And of the 10 countries at the bottom of the list, nine are on the African continent.

There are many lessons African countries will need to learn from countries that have performed well if they have any hope of attaining the sustainable development goal (SDG) targets by 2030.

And there is an urgent need to accelerate the pace of progress if the goals are to become a reality.

Analysing the goals and measuring the targets

A total of 17 sustainable development goals, along with their 169 targets and 230 indicators, were adopted at the United Nations summit on sustainable development with a deadline of 2030.

The goals replaced the millennium development goals which expired in 2015.

Goal three specifically relates to health and tackles maternal and child mortality, non-communicable diseases, universal health coverage and mental health. Ambitious targets were also set to end the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria by 2030. These three are Africa’s top infectious disease killers.

In addition to goal three, 10 of the other 16 sustainable development goals have health-related targets. This includes, for example, reducing poverty (goal one) and helping people to access clean water and sanitation (goal six).

Using the SDG targets as the baseline to analyse data from 188 countries we looked at how much progress each country had made to achieve the new targets. We used data collected between 2000 and 2015. Each country was allocated an overall SDG index score.

The index was created by scoring each of the 33 health-related SDG indicators and then combining them and giving a single value on a scale of zero to 100. The change in this score from year to year shows whether a country is progressing toward achieving SDG targets.

It is the first time the index is being used. Iceland scored the highest on the index, tallying 85.

One thought on “A novel global scoring system shows Africa falling behind on health goals”
  1. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

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    (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still
    in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!

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