Until the end of 2019, advances in many areas of health continued, but the rate of progress was not sufficient to meet most Goal 3 targets. The COVID-19 pandemic is throwing progress even further off track. The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases is causing a significant loss of life and overwhelming many health systems. Essential health services and lifesaving interventions are being disrupted. People are unable or afraid to go to health-care facilities to seek services such as check-ups, vaccinations and even urgent medical care. This could have potentially fatal consequences and threatens to reverse decades of improvements in health outcomes.
In many countries, the outbreak is also triggering an alarm in terms of preparedness for health emergencies and immunization services. This is particularly true for countries where health systems are unable to cope with the surge in demand due to the lack of health-care workers, medical equipment and supplies.