By Racheal Ishaya
American billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has urged world leaders to deal with all forms of inequality in the world so that people can live productive lives.
Gates said that people were experiencing hardship and were unable to lead healthy, productive lives due to inequality.
He gave the advice on Wednesday at the 2019 Goalkeepers meeting in New York.
The meeting brought together government, philanthropic and civil society leaders to discuss how to achieve the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the SDGs focuses on ending poverty, fighting climate change, Illicit Financial Flows, hunger, improving health and education, sustaining economic growth and reducing inequality within countries by 2030.
According to Gates, who is the co-Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the latest report of the foundation which spotlights inequality shows that the widening inequality gap of inequality especially in developing countries threatens progress in achieving the SDGs by 2030.
He said the report showed that the level of inequality in the quality of education and healthcare that people receive even within the same country differs.
“When you look at the report, the first thing you will see is that health and education are improving everywhere in the world.
“Think of the most challenged country you can imagine. The people there are healthier and better educated than they used to be.
“The second thing you will see however is that in many countries, even though life is better, it is still bad. More children die every single day in Chad than they doin Finland in an entire year.
“In Nigeria, data from each local government area shows that an average person in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state has more than 12 years in education whereas the average person in Garki, Jigawa state has five.
“This is inequality. This shows that where you are born is more predictive of your future than any other factor.
“Therefore investments in human capital today helps people increase their incomes tomorrow. But without human capital, for those who are unhealthy and uneducated, it is virtually impossible to escape poverty,” he said.
To this end, Gates called on world leaders to invest more in human capital as a way to reduce poverty, create opportunities, and generate prosperity.
NAN reports that according to the 2019 report on inequality, Nigeria’s under-5 Child Mortality Rate, reduced from 109 per 1,000 births in 2017 to 104 per 1,000 live births in 2018.
Also, Child stunting reduced from 38.14 per cent in 2017 to 36.74 per cent in 2018.
In addition, malaria death reduced from about 166 per 1,000 population in 2017 to 160.72 per 1,000 population and cases of tuberculosis reduced from 351.8 per 100,000 population to 344.2 in 2018.
Similarly, cases of Neglected Tropical Diseases went down from 52,566 per 100,000 population in 2017 to 50,584 in 2018.
It, however, indicated that the number of people living in poverty in Nigeria increased from 66.83 million in 2017 to 67.48 million in 2018.
On vaccinations in Nigeria, the report showed that Measles-Containing-Vaccine second dose (MCV2) was low at 39.27 per cent, Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) immunisation coverage was 36.39 per cent.
The report also showed that the vaccine coverage for Pneumoccocal conjugate vaccines (PCV3) was at 35.67 per cent. (NAN)