A global study on a range of health indicators released on Thursday has ranked India 143rd among 188 countries, citing various challenges, including mortality rates, malaria, and hygiene and air pollution.
Pakistan and Bangladesh were ranked 149th and 151st respectively. India’s poor performance on hygiene, air pollution and mortality were among the factors that placed it lower than countries like Bhutan, Botswana, Syria and Sri Lanka.
“Despite rapid economic growth, India was ranked below Comoros and Ghana,” the first annual assessment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) health performance published in medical journal Lancet and launched at a special event at the United Nations general assembly in New York said.
For malaria, which was one of the health indicators assessed, India merely scored 10 points and remained in the red zone. Similarly for hygiene, the study gave India just eight points, while for PM 2.5 levels it scored just 18 points. For under-five mortality India scored 39 points while for Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) it scored 28 points.
India did score above 80 points for performing well in areas like Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), which are a diverse group of communicable diseases, overweight and 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, South Sudan had the lowest values in the SDG index. The study said across 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.
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.