A global study on a range of health indicators released today has ranked India 143rd among 188 countries, citing various challenges, including mortality rates, malaria hygiene and air pollution.
“Despite rapid economic growth, India was ranked 143rd, below Comoros and Ghana," the first annual assessment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) health performance published in the Lancet and launched at a special event at the UN General Assembly in New York said.
India was placed just ahead of Pakistan and Bangladesh which were ranked 149th and 151st respectively. India's poor performance on hygiene, air pollution mortality are among factors that place it lower than countries like Bhutan, Botswana, Syria and Sri Lanka.
For malaria, which was one of the health indicators assessed, India merely scored 10 points and remained in the red. Similarly for hygiene, the study gave India just eight points while for PM2.5, it scored just 18 points. For under-five mortality India scored 39 points while for Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) it scored 28 points.
India, however, scored above 80 points for performing well in areas like Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) which are a diverse group of communicable diseases, overweight and harmful alcohol consumption. In 2015, the health-related SDG index was highest in Iceland, Singapore, and Sweden, with the UK ranking fifth just ahead of Finland.
The Central African Republic, Somalia, and South Sudan had the lowest values of the health-related SDG index. The study said cross the world good progress has been made towards some of the health-related SDGs since 2000, particularly in reducing under-five and neonatal mortality, family planning, and in the rollout of universal health care.
“However, in areas beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which came to an end in 2015, few inroads have been made. “For example, there have been only minimal improvements in Hepatitis B incidence rates, while childhood overweight, intimate partner violence, and harmful alcohol consumption have worsened," it said.
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 follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expired at the end of 2015.