Australia performing well in global health goals

Australia has been ranked as the tenth best performing country in meeting global health goals.

The analysis assessing 188 countries has just been published in The Lancet and show good progress has been made around the world in achieving some of the targets which include reducing childhood mortality, providing family planning and the rollout of universal healthcare.

But they reveal there are still challenges in meeting goals on domestic violence, HIV and tuberculosis, childhood obesity and alcohol consumption.

The study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, measured how countries, including Australia, China, India, the US and UK, performed over the last 15 years with Iceland taking the top spot for its health related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) performance.

Australia came in at number 10, the UK at number 5, the US at 28, China at 92 and India at 143.

In 2015 Australia was judged to be performing well in rates of childhood and maternal mortality, air pollution, providing access to skilled birthcare and family planning facilities. But fared less well in regards to alcohol consumption, the number of Australians who are overweight and suicide rates.

The SDGs are 17 universal goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators set by the United Nations in 2015 to guide a range of pressing problems including food and water security, poverty, and climate change up to 2030. The SDGs are an offshoot of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were launched in 2000 with a target year of 2015.  

Health is at the core of the SDG with the third SDG aiming to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”.

The data was analysed using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injury and Risk Factors and focused on 33 health-related indicators to measure progress.

Professor Stephen Lim from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington led the research with the help of 1870 collaborators in 124 countries including Professor Bruce Neal and Professor Vivek Jha from The George Institute.

Professor Bruce Neal said: “We would expect Australia to perform well on a global level in regards to health care. But despite being ranked as the tenth best country in the world there is no room for complacency.

"There are areas we can definitely improve in and where other countries doing far better including our high levels of childhood obesity and rates of suicide.

“The gaps have been highlighted, now it’s time for governments, policy makers and health professionals to work on meeting the 2030 targets."

The George Institute for Global Health is a strong supporter and advocate of these Global Goals. Goal Three “Good health and wellbeing: ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” aligns very closely with our mission to “improve the health of millions of people worldwide”. At the same time much of our work also upholds Goal Five “Gender equality”, Goal 10 “Reduced inequalities” plus many others.

Read the full Lancet study.