Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Tuesday, September 14 2021 - 13:00
Gates Foundation's Annual Goalkeepers Report Finds Stark Disparities in COVID-19 Impacts
SEATTLE, Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-- 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 Global Goals 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today launched its fifth annual Goalkeepers 
Report ( 
), featuring an updated global dataset illustrating the pandemic's adverse 
impact on progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development 
Goals(Global Goals). 

This year's report, co-authored by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, 
co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shows that disparities caused 
by COVID-19 remain stark, and those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic 
will be the slowest to recover. 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. 

Fortunately, 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. 

In the report, the co-chairs highlight 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, yet they note it's 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. 

"[The past year] has reinforced our belief that progress is possible but not 
inevitable," write the co-chairs. "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 highlights 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 

"Women face structural barriers in every corner of the world, leaving them more 
vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic," said Melinda French Gates. "By 
investing in women now and addressing these inequities, governments can spur a 
more equitable recovery while strengthening their economies against future 
crises. It's not just the right thing to do—but smart policy that will benefit 

The report also illustrates 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 exist primarily in wealthy countries, 
and as a result, the world has not benefited equally. 

"The lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a public health tragedy," 
said Bill Gates. "We face the very real risk that in the future, wealthy 
countries and communities will begin treating COVID-19 as yet another disease 
of poverty. We can't put the pandemic behind us until everyone, regardless of 
where they live, has access to vaccines."

More than 80% of all COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in high- and 
upper-middle-income countries to date, with some securing two to three times 
the number needed so they can cover boosters; less than 1% of doses have been 
administered in low-income countries. Further, COVID-19 vaccine access has been 
strongly correlated with the locations where there is vaccine R&D and 
manufacturing capability. Though Africa is home to 17% of the world's 
population, for example, it has less than 1% of the world's vaccine 
manufacturing capabilities. 

Ultimately, the report calls for the world to invest in R&D, infrastructure, 
and innovation in places closer to the people who stand to benefit.

"We must invest in local partners to strengthen the capacity of researchers and 
manufacturers in lower-income countries to create the vaccines and medicines 
they need," said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. "The only way we will solve 
our greatest health challenges is by drawing on the innovation and talent of 
people all over the world."

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates 
Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In 
developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them 
the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United 
States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest 
resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and 
life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, 
under the direction of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.

About Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is the foundation's campaign to accelerate progress towards the 
Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). By sharing stories and data 
behind the Global Goals through an annual report, we hope to inspire a new 
generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their 
leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals

On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 
world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals( ) 
(Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to 
achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and 
injustice, and fix climate change.

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SOURCE: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation