, ,

Improvements in Global Health During Your Lifetime

Discussions on global health often focus on the challenges still faced. Undeniably, there is still a lot of work to do to fight diseases and to ensure that everyone has the chance to lead a healthy life, but the progress made is often overlooked. The last few decades have seen many advances in medicine and technology, along with greater commitment to address global health issues. Is this paying off?

These are the improvements in global health made in the last 25 years:

  • Global life expectancy has increased by six years – from 66 to 72 years. In 1991, only 57 percent of newborns lived in countries where they could expect to reach their 60th birthdays. In 2015, 84 percent of newborns could expect to reach their 60th birthday and five percent could even reach their 80th birthday.
  • There has been a huge decline in childhood deaths. In 1991, more than 12 million children under the age of five died; in 2015 this is down to just under six million.
  • Several medical breakthroughs were made, including rapid diagnostic tests for malaria, antiretroviral drugs to manage HIV, the MenAfriVac that protects against meningitis A in sub-Saharan Africa and the Ebola vaccine.
  • Vaccines have played a big part in controlling infectious diseases such as measles, rubella, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria and polio. One example of the impact of vaccines is the progress that has been made in eradicating polio. In 1991, there were more than 13,000 cases of polio; in 2015 this was down to only 74 cases.
  • Even the diseases we are still struggling with, like malaria, are causing fewer deaths due to better prevention and control measures. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by 29 percent globally since 2010.

If you are interested to see what improvements in global health have happened in your lifetime, visit Mosaic Science.

Helena Jacobs

Photo: Flickr