Ghana needs to make even greater progress if it hopes to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a new scientific study in The Lancet, a Uk peer-reviewed general medical journal.
The study by the international Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) published in The Lancet, analysed each country’s progress toward achieving health-related SDG targets, by creating an overall SDG Index score.
Countries were ranked by their scores to show which nations were closest to achieving the targets.
A nation’s SDG index score is based on a scale of zero to 100 and
Iceland tops the list with a score of 85.
The lowest-scoring nation was the Central African Republic, at score 20. Ghana has a score of 43, ahead of Kenya (score of 40), Cote d’Ivoire (35), and Nigeria (34); and just behind South Africa and Botswana (both with scores of 46) and Namibia (45).
The report indicated that although, the country made gains since 2000, it still lags in progress toward the SDGs.
“By successfully combatting diseases like HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, Ghana has made great health progress since 2000,” it said.
Ghana’s health gains according to the report, were made against a global backdrop of expanded health coverage, greater access to family planning, and fewer deaths of newborns and children under the age of 5 were among several health improvements contributing to many countries’ progress toward achieving the SDGs.
The report indicated that while Ghana had increased access to basic health services to many more people, high percentages of the population remain at risk because of lack of clean water and poor hygiene.
In addition, it said while access to family planning methods increased between 2000 and 2015, only 36 per cent of women ages 15 to 49 who want contraceptives or other resources are able to access them.
“Ghana has shown promising health progress in the past 15 years, particularly by combating problems like childhood stunting and deadly diseases like HIV, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.
But Ghana needs to take action to further drive down these disease rates, and tackle major challenges like water and hygiene,” said Dr. Tom Achoki, Clinical Assistant Professor at Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
He said “Much more energy and resources will be needed for Ghana to meet the SDGs.”
The study’s top findings for Ghana include: Malaria rates also fell from 284 cases per 1,000 people to 209 cases per 1,000 people over the 15-year period.
Cases of new or relapsed tuberculosis declined from 2.3 per 1,000 people in 2000 to 1.5 per 1,000 people in 2015.
The neglected tropical disease rate was nearly halved from nearly 78,000 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to approximately 38,000 per 100,000 people in 2015.
These include ailments like the eye malady trachoma, the parasitic disease schistosomiasis, and the lymphatic system ailment lymphatic filariasis.
The suicide rate increased from 8.3 deaths per 100,000 people to 9.7 per 100,000 people in 2015.
Alcohol consumption is on the rise with 7 per cent of the population at risk of health loss from binge drinking, up from 6 per cent in 2000.
“We know that international targets can motivate countries and motivate donors,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray.
“The international Global Burden of Disease collaboration is committed to providing an independent assessment of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.”