More thancouple of decades ago there was widespread poverty and impoverishmentespecially in areas of Africa and large parts of Asia and south-east Asia. Inthese countries almost 50% of the people were having an average income of lessthan a dollar, one of the lowest sustenance levels in the world. Adding tothese numbers, more than 25% of the children below the age group of 12 years weremalnourished and underfed which resulted in their being under-weight. In termsof number of children going to school, Africa had the worst numbers with onlyone in two had some access to education. Thingshave started to improve especially in the recent years as the numbers suggestwith decreasing poverty ratio and higher number of school enrollment and betterfood security, but still large number of people are suffering from poverty.World Bank figures (Fig.1) suggest that absolute number of people living belowpoverty line has been decreasing at a slow pace in several countries of Africa,but standard of living has been increasing at a much faster pace with markedlydecline of poverty ratio especially in East and South-East Asia where theproportion of people living in poverty has come well below the 50% mark.
Manyof the reports of UN and World Bank suggest that there is improvement in manyof the socio-economic parameters and this improvement is happening in quickerpace than ever before. If one goes into the numbers, there is drastic reductionin percentage of malnourished children and infant mortality rate has reduced toa great extent with better medical and food security. Now more and morechildren are going to school and dropout percentage has been continuouslydecreasing as more and more stress is being given by governments to primary andfemale education. Figures from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) suggesta vast improvement in especially in areas of poverty reduction, more number ofgirls going to school and better and more access to clean drinking water.
Someof the other parameters of MDGs such as infant mortality rate, nutritionalintake and percentage of children enrolled in primary school still needs improvementbut it is hope that with adequate push and concerted effort by governments,these targets will be met soon. From the Fig.2, it can be seen the maternalmortality rate is still way off the expected levels.