According to the World Health Organization, about 85% of the world's children received a measles vaccine by their first birthday in 2014 - up from 73% in 2000. Between 2000 and 2014, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 17.1 million deaths making it one of the "best buys" in public health.
Today is World Aids Day - an annual event to raise awareness about the global fight against HIV. Earlier this year, a report from UNAIDS declared that the Millennium Development Goal 6 target of “halting and reversing the spread of HIV” had been met, but that continued effort and financing would be needed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goal 3.
When it comes to international data about HIV and AIDS, the cross-organisational UNAIDS program publishes age and gender-disaggregated data on indicators such as prevalence, new infections and deaths. In turn, we incorporate some of these data into the World Development Indicators.
Here are some highlights from the most recently available data:
In 2014, there were an estimated 36.9 million adults and children living with HIV in the world. The majority of these people are in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. As you can see from the decreasing slope of the “global” line - while people continue to become infected, the rate of new infections is going down.
Globally, the Millennium Development Goal of reversing the trend in new cases of tuberculosis has been met. Today there there are 40% fewer people living with TB than there were in 1990. More data.
Between 1990 and 2015, the global under-5 mortality rate dropped 53% from 91 to 41 deaths per 1,000. However, this drop is not enough to meet the global Millennium Development Goal of a two-thirds reduction over this period. Read more.
New child mortality estimates [PDF 4.2 Mb] released today by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) show major progress globally. But this drop is still not enough to meet the global MDG4 target of a two-thirds reduction between 1990 and 2015.
: East Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, whereas the Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa regions fell slightly short. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, progress remains insufficient to reach the target.
The most recent data show significant strides in reducing maternal mortality at the national level over the past 20 years. Improvements in access to maternal health care, especially in skilled birth assistance, have contributed to the reduction of maternal mortality.
While these improvements are impressive, the national level data often mask inequalities in skilled birth assistance within countries. There may be gaps within a country, for example, where wealthy women might have better access than women from poor households. According to the World Health Organization, "The high number of maternal deaths in some areas of the world reflects inequities in access to health services, and highlights the gap between rich and poor."
The under-5 mortality rate worldwide has fallen by 49% since 1990, according to new child mortality estimates and press release launched today. This information is also summarized in the report Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME). Put another way, about 17,000 fewer children under-5 died each day in 2013 than in 1990.
These rates are falling faster than at any other time during the past two decades: from a 1.2% annual reduction during 1990-1995 to a 4% reduction during 2005-2013.
More children making it to their fifth birthday
The major improvements in under-5 child survival since 1990 are attributable to better access to affordable, quality health care, as well as the expansion of health programs that reach the most vulnerable newborns and children.
The 49% drop – from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, to 46 deaths in 2013 – means that a baby born today has a dramatically better chance of survival to age 5 compared with a baby born in 1990.
More progress needed to achieve the global Millennium Development Goal 4 target
Four out of 6 World Bank Group regions are on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4), which is to reduce the under-5 mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are two regions where the rates of decline remain insufficient to reach MDG 4 on a global scale. In 2013, the highest under-5 mortality rate was in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there were 92 deaths per 1,000 live births or where 1 in 11 children die before reaching the age of 5.
There were more than 7 billion people on earth in 2013. While this is the highest number ever, the population growth rate has been steadily declining, in part due to declining fertility rates. Tomorrow, Friday, July 11, is World Population Day, and in this spirit, I'd like to talk about a key component of population growth: fertility rates.
- On a global level, the rate of under-five child mortality has been cut in half, from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 48 per 1,000 in 2012. The estimated annual number of under-five deaths has fallen from 12.6 million to 6.6 million over the same period.
- Since 1990, 216 million children worldwide have died before their fifth birthday — more than the current total population of Brazil, the world's fifth most populous country.
- Disparities between children in the high-income and low-income countries have narrowed, but many gaps still remain. Case in point: In Luxembourg, the under-five mortality rate is just 2 deaths per 1,000 live births; in Sierra Leone, it is 182 deaths per 1,000 births.
As we stand a year away from the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 – which aims to reduce the global under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 – the pace of reduction would have needed to quadruple in 2013-2015 to achieve this goal, according to the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF's) Committed to Child Survival: A Promised Renewed – Progress Report 2013.
A closer look at regional rates
Now let's take a look at the regional and country level data by viewing the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2014 and the indicator under-five mortality rate. The WDI also features a short progress report on MDG 4, which complements the detailed analysis of the World Bank Group's Global Monitoring Report. This report uses the same methodology to assess whether countries are on track or off track to meet the 2015 targets.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where one in ten children die before the age of five, faces the biggest challenges in achieving MDG 4, followed by South Asia. The SSA region reduced its child mortality rate by 45% during 1990 to 2012, the only region to reduce its under-five mortality rate by less than half during this time. SSA also lags behind other regions in its pace of decline in the total number of under-five deaths.