Singapore tops chart of 188 countries on UN health goals

Singapore is on the top of the list for progress made on a set of United Nations (UN) goals to build a better future, based on health-related indicators, according to a paper published in the prestigious journal The Lancet.

Patients at a polyclinic in Singapore.
Patients at a polyclinic in Singapore. Photo courtesy:

The Lion country scored 86.6 on an index created to see how close countries are to achieving the UN's sustainable development goals. This was the highest score among all 188 countries studied – ahead of the Scandinavian nations, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Researchers looked at data for 33 health-related indicators to arrive at their conclusions which included tuberculosis and malaria rates, the probability of dying before the age of five years, as well as the population's access to clean water and proper sanitation. They measured how countries have progressed between 1990 and 2016. Then, based on this data, the researchers projected how close countries would get to the UN goals by 2030.

Singapore showed especially good progress in the areas of vaccine coverage and death rates from a particular subset of noncommunicable diseases.

The UN goal is to reduce premature deaths from such diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – by a third by 2030, ideally through better prevention and treatment.

However, Singapore scored poorly when scientists looked at areas such as the proportion of overweight children, the mean level of PM2.5 pollutants in the air, and the prevalence of child sexual abuse.