Monday, June 7, 2010

More Improvements in Global Health

The Health chapter is perhaps the least controversial in my book. It's easy to see how much global health is improving, especially over the long term - the last 100 years, say. Here's another tidbit to add to the list.

A new report revises down the estimates of the number of infants that die every year. An article in the Economist focuses on how this new way of reporting contrasts with past methods, notably the UN's. Some organizations are upset because they feel that if the public thinks that this issue is improving, they'll stop donating, even though obviously there is still a lot of work to be done. That would be a shame if that happened ... you would think it would instead be a good opportunity to say, "Look, what we're doing is working! Keep it up! Donate more and let's beat this."

The irony is that regardless of which statistical method you prefer, the trend is pretty straightforward. Check out this chart I made.

What's even crazier is that this huge decrease is happening while the total world population is still increasing*, making it an even larger success in terms of percentage.

* And no, the world's population growth isn't a big problem. It's slowing down. I talk about that quite a bit in the book.

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