The World Health Organization recently released a progress report towards the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Highlights of progress (all goals and targets are measured in terms of progress since 1990) include:
- Fewer children are dying. Annual global deaths of children under five years of age fell to 8.8 million in 2008 – down by 30% since 1990.
- Fewer children are underweight. The percentage of underweight children under five years old is estimated to have dropped from 25% in 1990 to 16% in 2010.
- More women get skilled help during childbirth. The proportion of births attended by a skilled health worker has increased globally, however, in the WHO Africa and South-East Asia regions fewer than 50% of all births were attended.
- Fewer people are contracting HIV. New HIV infections have declined by 16% globally from 2001–2008.
- Tuberculosis treatment is more successful. Existing cases of TB are declining, along with deaths among HIV-negative TB cases.
- More people have safe drinking-water, but not enough have toilets. The world is on track to achieve the MDG target on access to safe drinking-water but more needs to be done to achieve the sanitation target.