COVID-19 has stalled efforts to tackle poverty ­- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

COVID-19 has stalled efforts to tackle poverty ­- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The coronavirus pandemic has stalled the progress, made over in the last 20 years, in fighting poverty and disease, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said on Tuesday.

 

A report by the Foundation, published in New York on Tuesday, indicated that by every indicator, the world had regressed in attempts to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and reduce inequality.

 

The annual “Goalkeepers” report of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said that extreme poverty had increased by 7 per cent due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

 

“Vaccine coverage, a proxy measure for how health systems are functioning, has plummeted to levels last seen in the 1990s, setting the world back about 25 years in 25 weeks,’’ the report said.

 

“The data also show that the economic fallout from the pandemic is reinforcing inequalities, with women, racial and ethnic minority communities and people living in extreme poverty particularly affected.”

 

In the report, which Bill and Melinda Gates have co-authored every year since 2017, they called for global collaboration on the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments.

 

They also solicited global cooperation on swift manufacturing of test kits and doses as well as the equitable delivery of those tools, based on need rather than the ability to pay.

 

“This is a shared global crisis that demands a shared global response,’’ Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in the report.

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