KNOW GMO VLOG: It’s Getting Better

This was recorded and posted on social media last summer but, in honour of Hans Rosling’s new posthumous book, we felt it was information worth revisiting because many people are asking the same questions today: is the world getting better or worse? How we go about seeking the answer plays a large part in shaping our perspective on the world. Things are not perfect, there is no doubt about that. Yet, at the same time, things have never been better. We live in the gap between not as bad as it was, and, there is still room to improve. Crises and opportunities are inextricably linked.

The World Health Organization publishes “World Health Statistics”, which provide an overview of the latest annual data about health-related targets and Sustainable Development Goals. As high as these numbers appear, and as urgent as the need is, when compared to previous years these represent a success for humanity in its efforts to resolve its challenges.

Here is where we stood globally in 2016:

* 303 000 women died due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth;

* 5.9 million children died before their fifth birthday;

* 2 million people are newly infected with HIV, and there are 9.6 million new TB cases and 214 million malaria cases;

* 1.7 billion people need treatment for neglected tropical diseases;

* more than 10 million people died before the age of 70 due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer;

* 800 000 people committed suicide;

* 1.25 million people die from road traffic injuries;

* 4.3 million people die due to air pollution caused by cooking fuels;

* 3 million people die due to outdoor pollution; and

* 475 000 people are murdered, 80% of them men.


Addressing these challenges can’t be done without tackling the risk factors that contribute to disease. Around the world today:

* 1.1 billion people smoke tobacco;

* 156 million children under 5 are stunted, and 42 million children under 5 are overweight;

* 1.8 billion people drink contaminated water, and 946 million people defecate in the open; and

* 3.1 billion people rely primarily on polluting fuels for cooking.


Every year since 2005, WHO’s has published “World Health Statistics.”It’s a definitive source of information on the health of the world’s people. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy, illness and death from key diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, and risk factors and behaviours that affect health.

WHO’s Global Health Observatory updates health statistics year round of more than 1000 health indicators. Members of the public can use it to find the latest health statistics on global, regional and country levels. We’ll include the link below, because it’s pretty cool.

We’ll also leave you with a good point made by the aforementioned and dearly missed, Hans Rosling, author of, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.