A news release from WHO: World Health Statistics reports on global health goals for 194 countries. Click through for the full article and a link to the report. Excerpt:
2015 is the final year for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – goals set by governments in 2000 to guide global efforts to end poverty. This year’s "World Health Statistics" – published today by WHO – assesses progress towards the health-related goals in each of the 194 countries for which data are available. The results are mixed.
By the end of this year if current trends continue, the world will have met global targets for turning around the epidemics of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and increasing access to safe drinking water. It will also have made substantial progress in reducing child undernutrition, maternal and child deaths, and increasing access to basic sanitation.
“The MDGs have been good for public health. They have focused political attention and generated badly needed funds for many important public health challenges,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “While progress has been very encouraging, there are still wide gaps between and within countries. Today’s report underscores the need to sustain efforts to ensure the world’s most vulnerable people have access to health services.”
Child deaths halved, but won’t reach target
Progress in child survival worldwide is one of the greatest success stories of international development. Since 1990, child deaths have almost halved – falling from an estimated 90 deaths per 1000 live births to 46 deaths per 1000 live births in 2013.
Despite great advances, this is not enough to reach the goal of reducing the death rate by two-thirds. Less than one third of all countries have achieved or are on track to meet this target by the end of this year. The top killers of children aged less than 5 years are now: preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia and diarrhoea.
Saving more mothers
The number of women who died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved between 1990 and 2013. This rate of decrease won’t be enough to achieve the targeted reduction of 75% by the end of this year.
The maternal mortality ratio has fallen in every region. However, 13 countries with some of the world’s highest rates have made little progress in reducing these largely preventable deaths.
In the WHO African Region, 1 in 4 women who wants to prevent or delay childbearing does not have access to contraceptives, and only 1 in 2 women gives birth with the support of a skilled birth attendant. Less than two-thirds (64%) of women worldwide receive the recommended minimum of 4 antenatal care visits during pregnancy.