Enormous progress in health and quality of life has been made thanks to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which the United Nations set in 2000. Member countries agreed on a set of targets for reducing poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, illiteracy, discrimination against women, and environmental damage by 2015.
The global rate of extreme poverty has dropped to 22 percent. More people than ever before have access to sanitation and clean water. Now 91 percent of the global population uses an improved drinking water source, compared to 76 percent in 1990. The percentage of undernourished people is half what it was 25 years ago.
Globally, skilled healthcare providers are attending more births, and the number of mother and infant deaths is dropping accordingly. Maternal deaths from pregnancy and childbirth have dropped by 44 percent and child mortality has been reduced by 53 per cent since 1990. However, WHO adds that more than 800 women still die every day during pregnancy or childbirth, while six million children worldwide will not live to see their fifth birthday. These preventable deaths account for more than one third of the global burden of premature mortality.
Pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases still kill millions in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean regions. However, the number of deaths from infectious diseases has fallen from 12.1 million in 2000 to 9.5 million in 2012, and the percentage of all deaths from infectious diseases dropped from 23 percent to 17 percent.