The United Nations eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed upon by the UN Member States to be achieved by the year 2015. Now the UN has taken stock of the situation during 2015 to gauge the progress we have made and compare it with the situation of 1990 thus judging it from a quarter of a century time frame perspective. The major stumbling block to achieve these targets comes from the countries which are facing serious threats of conflict, economic hardships and HIV/AIDS. The number of underweight children in developing countries has gone down from 28% to 17% during the last quarter of a century and it seems to be in line with the projected targets. However, under 5 year mortality though has reduced sharply from 90 deaths per 1000 live births to 46, a good 50% decline, yet it falls short of the desired targets which wanted a two-third reduction. Not much progress could be made so far as the maternal mortality is concerned. The maternal deaths have decreased from 523 000 in 1990 to 289 000 in 2013. This maternal death rate has come down roughly a little over one half, however, the UN goal was set at a three-fourth reduction. New infections with HIV in 2013 were reported as 2.1 million as compared to 3.4 million in 2001. It is about one-third reduction in new cases. The treatment has been extended to about 12.9 million people by administering antiretroviral therapy (ART) by the end of 2013 globally. The target was to reach 15 million people by 2015 and it seems within reach to be achieved. From 2000Ã¢â‚¬â€œ2013, there is a reasonable check on malaria incidence and mortality rates have fallen globally to 30% and 47% respectively. Tuberculosis is also under control and treatment success rate has been above 85% recently with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Safe drinking water MDG target has been achieved. About 90% of the population during 2012 had access to an improved source of drinking-water which was accessible to only 76% in 1990. The review of MDGs shows us a mixed bag of surprises and hiccups in achieving the targets and we have a long way to go to see us all as healthy and happy.
Professor S. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Human Biology Review
Former Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences,
Punjabi University, Patiala, India