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Singapore leads the world in progress toward the health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Singapore is 1 of only 4 countries to score a perfect score 100 (where 100 indicates safe levels) in the categories of under-5 mortality rates and neonatal mortality, as well death certification.

Singapore is closer than any other country in the world to achieving the heath-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to new research published in The Lancet. Singapore's score of 86.8 on the SDG index includes particularly high marks for decreasing child mortality, building resilience to natural disasters, and mitigating violence.

"Singapore leads the world on the health-related SDG index because it performed well across many priority health areas, which range from maternal and child health to violence and conflict. Singapore scored particularly well, relative to all other countries, on disaster mortality, under-5 and neo-natal mortality, malaria incidence, prevalence of neglected tropical diseases, household air pollution, and other indicators," said the Nancy Fullman, MPH, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the study's lead author.

The study on progress toward the SDGs for Singapore and 187 other countries was published in The Lancet. The paper is part of the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), which is conducted by a global consortium of researchers and coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The paper was published to coincide with the release of a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data, is the foundation's first annual progress report on the SDGs; it is produced in partnership with IHME.

The paper measures 37 health-related indicators that align with the SDG's 11 health-related goals and 29 targets. These indicators cover a broad range of issues including maternal and mortality; incidence of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria; levels of smoking, alcohol, and violence; and exposure to air pollution. The study also considers people's access to universal healthcare coverage, which is key to achieving the health SDGs. Researchers tracked progress from 1990 to 2016, using a 0 to 100 scale to measure each indicator. The resulting data trends were then used to estimate how countries are expected to perform against this set of health indicators by 2030.

Globally, the paper reveals that many countries - especially low-income countries - are facing challenges meeting the health-related goals. The country with the lowest index score was war-torn Afghanistan, with a score of only 10.9, and the next lowest scores went to the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, and Chad. These scores stand in sharp contrast to the achievements of Singapore and other top index achievers like Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel, and the UK, all of which scored 80 or higher.

The research shows that there are opportunities to improve performance by 2030, even for the world's most impoverished countries. The report recommends increased multi-sectoral commitments to ensure that all countries can meet the health goals.

The GBD is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time. It draws on the work of more than 2,500 collaborators from more than 130 countries and territories. IHME coordinates the study. This year, more than 13 billion data points are included.

This year's SDGs index improves the measurement of universal health coverage to include personal healthcare access and quality for non-communicable diseases. This augmented definition of coverage allows researchers to more accurately monitor how expansion of health services can help meet the SDGs. This year's study also measures four additional health indicators: vaccine coverage, two violence indicators, and well-certified death registrations.

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