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Bill & Melinda Gates Urge Nations To Work Harder To Achieve Quality Universal Health Care

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Countries across the globe are falling short of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030, or the Global Goals, according to a new report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development seeks to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, among other goals, and was unanimously adopted by 193 member states of the United Nations in 2015.

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, which cover 17 distinct areas, concerning everything from climate change to education. You can take action on these issues here.

Two years out, progress on the global goals has been mixed. Health, the focus of the Gates Foundation’s study, is one area that has had varied results.

More than 60% of the total 188 nations analyzed will meet the target for malaria and the goals for under-5 mortality, neonatal mortality, and maternal mortality. However, fewer than 5% of countries will attain road injury mortality, tuberculosis, and childhood overweight objectives, according to the study.

“This report will be a bit of a wake-up call to some leaders of certain countries,” Melinda Gates told Quartz. “There is a lot of work to be done, and we’ve got to roll up our sleeves, and as a world get busy on that work.”

READ MORE: Trump Proposes Cuts to Foreign Aid & EPA to Spend More on Military

The Gates are concerned about President Donald Trump’s proposal to reduce US funding for global family-planning programs; they’re urging Congress to oppose the cuts.

Children in countries such as Angola, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan remain the most vulnerable, according to the study. More than 1.5 million children projected to die next year from diseases can be stopped by vaccines — ultimately making them preventable, according to Bill and Melinda Gates.

READ MORE: Vaccines Will Prevent 20 Million Deaths and Save Poor Countries $820 Billion by 2020, Study Finds

Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Quartz the pace of progress has not been great in central Africa and West Africa.

“If the past trends continue, we’re not going to achieve the SDGs and most countries won’t even achieve any of them, or a very, very small set of them,” Murray told Quartz.  

A new study published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet ranked countries based on their progress on UN health goals.

READ MORE: These Kids’ Lives Are At Stake if Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Global Health Are Passed.

The United States ranked 24 out of 30 countries among 188 nations, with Singapore landing at the top spot based on progress made in achieving health goals in 2016, according to CNN.

The US showed poor performance on indicators for suicide mortality, child sex abuse, alcohol use, and homicide. 

Countries that improved include Cambodia, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Laos, Turkey, and China. By contrast, other countries — including the low-income nations of Lesotho and the Central African Republic, as well as the high-income countries of the United States and Andorra — showed minimal gains.

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This year’s analysis was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, published ahead of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in the hopes of shaping policy and investments around global health challenges.