It is now clear that COVID-19 has brought with it challenges that have drastically affected the 17 sustainable goals with the main focus of this report being two goals; Health and economic growth. It is time for everyone, governments, private sectors, civil societies, and the general public to tighten their belt if these ambitious goals have to be achieved.
Although in recent years, the world has tried to improve on every single goal and has always celebrated decades of historical progress in fighting poverty and disease, this year, on the vast majority, we have regressed.
COVID-19 has so far killed more than 850,000 people. This is likely to get worse, now that many countries are bracing themselves for an increase in the number of new infections and deaths.
Corona pandemic has affected every aspect of society. In a short while, everything has collided with everything else. A health crisis has now become an economic crisis, a food crisis, a political crisis, and very soon, we will be experiencing a gender inequality crisis.
The building blocks of a comprehensive health catastrophe are declining. People have stopped visiting hospitals to avoid getting infections, and the government is mobilizing resources to try and manage the pandemic. All these make “mutual exacerbating catastrophe” a valid description for the COVID-19 as was with the case of the 1918 influenza pandemic in India.
According to Goalkeepers report data partner, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation(IHME), the vaccine coverage which is an important aspect of health has dropped to levels last seen in 1990. In short, in less than 8 months, we are behind a health schedule with about 25 years.
The big question is how then can under-developed countries bounce back from this crisis and start making progress again? Support should be given to the most affected to ensure temporary reversals are made before the impact is greatly felt years to come.
Every measure taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 has either contributed to an economic catastrophe or educational catastrophe. When people tried to limit their exposure to public places popularly known as “social distancing,” global supply chains began to shut down. When schools closed and children had to learn from home, the educational sector was greatly affected. And now that there are hardly-hit under-developed countries, they are yet to experience the worst poverty and hunger that are likely to contribute to nutritional catastrophe.
There is need for an inclusive response
Whatever is happening at the moment is an indication that for the world to meet all the Sustainable Development Goals, there should be a collaborative response. This is a different kind of crisis; Every person on the planet shares this crisis, solutions need to be shared too.
Countries need to collaborate with their citizens to curb the spread of COVID-19. We have to rely on one another, rich or poor, whether in government or not. The pandemic has taught us that it does not matter where a person lives, or whether a person is maintaining social distance. A person who is infected can still interact with others without knowing.
Such kinds of interactions put the world at economic risk too and deepen the economic crisis. No country’s economy can be sustainable if the global economy is completely sick. This needs all countries to join hands without discriminating against the hardly-hit countries. There should be inclusivity when it comes to finding solutions to this one.