August 3, 2016

OUCRU researchers demonstrate Vietnam’s progress towards achieving SDGs

A study by the international Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) collaboration (which includes researchers from OUCRU), published in The Lancet, analyzed each country’s progress toward achieving the United Nation’s health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets by creating an overall SDG Index score. Countries were then ranked by their scores to show which nations are closest to achieving the targets, and Vietnam stands out as having achieved significant progress.

A nation’s SDG index score is based on a scale of zero to 100. Iceland tops the list with a score of 85. The lowest-scoring nation was the Central African Republic, at 20. The United States has a score of 75, just behind Slovenia, Greece, and Japan, all at 76. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

South East Asia and Vietnam Summary

Vietnam is ranked 94 of the 188 countries studied, when benchmarked by a battery of ‘indicators’ of achievement against SDGs. The SDG index scores for South East Asian countries are presented below, and show Vietnam has a score of 59 – the fifth highest in South East Asia – ahead of Thailand (56) and closely following Indonesia (60).

SDG composite score for South East Asian and selected comparison countries

Country SDG Index
Singapore 85
Brunei 78
Malaysia 69
Indonesia 60
Vietnam 59
Thailand 56
East Timor 53
Philippines 50
Cambodia 47
Myanmar (Burma) 46
Laos 45
– UK 82
– USA 75
– Japan 76
– China 60         

Vietnam has made significant advances in relation to the SDGs. In 1990 its SDG score was 34, in 2000 38 and in 2015 59. Furthermore, its SDG index is higher than would be predicted by socio-demographic factors alone. Dr Justin Beardsley from OUCRU HCMC says that this raw score only tells part of the story: “Vietnam has made significant progress. Behind these increasing numbers is an important human reality: higher scores mean healthier people.” This paper highlights some areas where Vietnam is performing well and others where further effort could improve the achievement of health-related development goals. The three best and worst indicators can be found below.

The three best indicators

SDG 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture  Highest Indicator #1                Prevalence of ‘overweight’ in children aged 2 to 4

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Highest Indicator #2        Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel

SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels

Highest Indicator #3        Incidence of deaths due to war

The three worst indicators

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Lowest Indicator #1        Incidence of malaria in areas where transmission is known to occur

Lowest Indicator #2        Incidence of Hepatitis B

Lowest Indicator #3        Incidence of new cases of HIV

“We have concrete examples of countries making important progress on a range of health-related SDG indicators,” said Dr. Stephen S. Lim, Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and lead author of study. “We now need to look to those countries that have seen strong progress to find out what they are doing right and how it can be applied more broadly.”

The GBD is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time. The GBD enterprise – now consisting of more than 1,800 researchers and policymakers in nearly 130 nations and territories – is coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Nations with the top 10 and bottom 10 SDG Index scores:

Top 10 Bottom 10
1.     Iceland (85) 1.     Central African Republic (20)
2.     Singapore (85) 2.     Somalia (22)
3.     Sweden (85) 3.     South Sudan (22)
4.     Andorra (83) 4.     Niger (23)
5.     United Kingdom (82) 5.     Chad (24)
6.     Finland (82) 6.     Democratic Republic of the Congo (24)
7.     Spain (82) 7.     Burundi (26)
8.     Netherlands (82) 8.     Mali (26)
9.     Canada (81) 9.     Afghanistan (26)
10. Australia (81) 10. Sierra Leone (27)
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