COVID-19 Pandemic Contributes To Loss Of Progress In Global Health, Development Goals, Gates Foundation Report Says

Devex: How big is the SDG backslide? Gates Foundation presents new data
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 7% increase in extreme poverty, with an additional 37 million people living below $1.90 a day, according to a new report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The fourth annual Goalkeepers report, which launched on Monday ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, draws on new data to provide what the Gates Foundation describes in a press release as ‘the most current global dataset for how the pandemic is affecting progress toward the Global Goals’…” (Cheney, 9/15).

New York Times: Gates Offers Grim Global Health Report, and Some Optimism
“…The assessment comes as the United States, stung harder by the virus than any other country, is retreating from the global health stage and seems focused primarily on saving itself. Could it ever return to its role as the world’s leader in both competence and generosity? In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Gates devoted a half-hour to explaining why he was optimistic that it would. ‘It’s my disposition,’ he said. ‘Plus, I’ve got to call these people up and make the pitch to them that this really makes sense — and I totally, totally believe it makes sense.’ … Ultimately his goal is far more ambitious: to double American foreign aid from less than 0.25 percent of gross domestic product to 0.5 percent or more. He sees the pandemic as an opportunity to do that…” (McNeil, 9/14).

POLITICO: 25 years wiped out in 25 weeks: Pandemic sets the world back decades
“…Global action to stop the pandemic would prevent illness and deaths caused by Covid-19, but there’s more at stake: The crisis sets back strides made in global poverty, HIV transmission, malnutrition, gender equality, education, and many more areas. Even if the world manages to get the coronavirus under control soon, it could take years to claw back lost progress. ‘We’re at the real cusp moment at how you can tackle this and how long-term the effects are,’ Mark Suzman, the CEO of the Gates Foundation, told POLITICO…” (Paun, 9/14).

STAT: New report says Covid-19 pandemic has caused historic setbacks in global health
“…Progress on most of the global development metrics has been reversed in 2020. And the world, the report projects, is now perhaps irretrievably off-course to hit most of the goals by 2030. The report pointed to vaccine coverage as a good proxy for how well health systems are functioning during the pandemic. It noted that an evaluation, conducted by the foundation’s data partner, the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, found that in 2020 vaccination coverage is at levels last seen in the 1990s. The report’s stark appraisal: ‘In other words, we’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks’…” (Branswell, 9/14).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Deals Setback to Global Vaccination Programs, Gates Report Finds
“…Health-care systems are also struggling to provide family-planning services, according to the report. The percentage of women of reproductive age who are able to obtain modern methods of contraception has fallen this year back to the level it was at in 2011, affecting 49 million women, according to Ms. Gates and data from the report. That could contribute to 15 million additional unplanned pregnancies world-wide this year, Ms. Gates said. ‘That’s comparable to the entire population of New York City, L.A., and Chicago all getting pregnant,’ she said…” (McKay, 9/14).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Axios, CNBC, The Guardian, Quartz, Reuters, STAT, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Xinhua.

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