Singapore tops rankings for meeting UN health goals: Study

Singapore tops rankings for meeting UN health goals: Study

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore
People walk past the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. (File photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is closer than any other country to meeting health-related targets set by the United Nations, according to a global health review published on Wednesday (Sep 13).

Published by The Lancet medical journal, the study ranked Singapore first among 188 countries in terms of progress towards meeting the UN's health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - health targets that include goals for infant mortality rates, smoking, vaccination, universal health coverage and rates of diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, among others.

Researchers measured 37 health-related SDG indicators from 1990 to 2016 for each country and then projected indicators for 2030.

Singapore beat Nordic countries such as Iceland and Sweden with an overall score of 87 out of 100. The three countries had previously tied for first place in last year's study.

At the other end of the table, the worst-performing countries included Somalia, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan, which all scored just 11 out of 100.

Singapore scored particularly well for its achievements in lowering child mortality rates and improving death registration. It also did well for indicators such as controlling incidences of malaria, its homicide rate, vaccine coverage and road injury death rate.

However, it did worse than other top countries in areas such as tuberculosis incidences (with a score of 63), and did worse than it did last year in terms of air pollution indicators such as air pollution mortality (74 out of 100) and levels of mean PM2.5 particulates (50 out of 100).

Among the top-ranked countries overall, child sexual abuse and suicide mortality were particular problem areas, and these were also among Singapore's worst-performing indicators.

For the study's childhood sexual abuse indicator - the prevalence of women and men aged 18 to 29 who had experienced sexual violence by age 18 - none of the countries that ranked in the top 10 overall scored higher than 52 for this category. Singapore scored 42 out of 100 for this indicator.

It also scored worse than it did last year for suicide mortality, with a score of 53 compared to 59 last year.

Overall, the study also found that none of the countries were on track to meet the UN target of eliminating new tuberculosis infections by 2030, and also found that low-income countries were finding it harder to meet targets.

"Based on past rates of progress, many places are facing challenges in meeting defined health-related SDG targets, particularly among countries that are the worst off," the authors said in their study. 

Source: CNA/nc