The Gates Foundation’s annual goalkeepers’ report has established stark disparities in COVID-19 impacts, stating that an additional 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.

According to the report, new data reveals world stepped up to prevent worst-case scenarios from happening; spotlights need for long-term investments to ensure an equitable recovery and continued progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

The reported noted: “Because of COVID-19, an additional 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 compared to 2019.

“And while 90% of advanced economies will regain pre-pandemic per capita income levels by next year, only a third of low- and middle-income economies are expected to do so.”

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However, it noted, “amidst this devastation, the world stepped up to avert some of the worst-case scenarios.

“In last year’s Goalkeepers Report, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted a drop of 14 percentage points in global vaccine coverage — effectively erasing 25 years of progress in 25 weeks.

“New analysis from IHME demonstrates that the decline, while still unacceptable, was only half of what was anticipated.”

The co-chairs highlighted the “breathtaking innovation” that was only possible because of global collaboration, commitment, and investments over decades.

They acknowledge that averting the worst-case scenarios is commendable, but not enough.

To ensure a truly equitable recovery from the pandemic, they call for long-term investments in health and economies — like the ones that led to the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine — to propel recovery efforts and get the world back on track to meet the Global Goals.

According to Bill and Melinda, “The past year has reinforced our belief that progress is possible but not inevitable.

“If we can expand upon the best of what we’ve seen these past 18 months, we can finally put the pandemic behind us and once again accelerate progress in addressing fundamental issues like health, hunger, and climate change.”

The report also highlighted the disproportionate economic impact that the pandemic has had on women globally.

In high- and low-income countries alike, women have been harder hit than men by the global recession that was triggered by the pandemic.

It also illustrated how the so-called “miracle” of COVID-19 vaccines was the result of decades of investment, policies, and partnerships that established the infrastructure, talent, and ecosystems necessary to deploy them quickly.

“However, the systems that allowed for the unprecedented development and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine,” it noted, “exist primarily in wealthy countries, and as a result, the world has not benefited equally.”

The report called for the world to invest in R&D (research and development), infrastructure, and innovation in places closer to the people who stand to benefit.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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