The United Nations has only 10 years to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals targets. To ensure a sustainable future for all, the 17 SDGs covering vast global challenges including climate change and health have to be met by 2030.
The World Health Organization (WHO) leads in promoting good health alongside other organs within the UN system. It covers all areas of health-related issues through prevention, establishing health regulations, intervention in crisis and other procedures in line with SDG 3.
While these efforts have borne remarkable results, World Health statistics show that some areas of the SDGs have stalled and are at risk of reversing the progress. A glaring hurdle is that more than half of the world’s population does not receive the health services they need. As a result, 13 million people, mostly from low and middle income countries, die every year before the age of 70 from cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
A host of factors contribute to this state of affairs. That’s why the UN takes a multifaceted approach to mitigate against setbacks. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), who directly addresses health related matters, discussed strengthening partnerships on its 74th annual meeting in September. One of the speakers invited was an ASEAN insurance firm that explored the viability of Blockchain technology in healthcare.
The firm, Bamboo, foresees a situation where a holistic approach to healthcare provision could reduce healthcare costs to a minimum. The current system is a strain to both governments and individuals. The UN notes;
“In 2010, almost 100 million people were pushed to extreme poverty because they had to pay for health services out of their own pockets”.
This situation has certainly not improved given the food crisis where there is raising food shortage, contributing to poor nutrition as food becomes both unaffordable and scarce. People are also exposed to high risk food courtesy of underhand attempts to increase production. Adulterated foods with pesticides that make them unsuitable for human consumption flood the market. Research indicates most of the emerging health issues are related to both poor diets and poisoned foods.
The question of poverty, food shortage and climate change and their contribution to health problems is cyclic. Each contributes to the other as each is a cause of another. However, it is clear that collaboration from all the given angles is a practical step towards the expected solutions.
HEALTHCARE THROUGH BLOCKCHAIN: BAMBOO
Bamboo argued that empowering people to control their health is important in bolstering SDG 3. By usingblockchain technology, IoT and Artificial Intelligence, they can track both their health and food to authenticate safety. They also would provide access to healthcare services and specialists on a network available on a mobile App. This combination will create a seamless health ecosystem to promote cheaper health insurance, better healthcare, safer food and overall healthier lifestyle. .
The ASEAN region has one of the world’s poorest populations. It remains to be seen how Bamboo will execute its plan to incorporate technology and insurance to achieve parts 3.8.1 and 3.8.2 of the UN SGD goals, but it’s an ambitious project worth keeping on the radar.