Gates' Letter: The World is Actually Getting Better

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

With all the thigns going on in the world politically, from brexit and an unelected Prime Minister here in the UK to Trump causing havoc for many minority groups in the US it's easy to believe that the world... well that it's going to shit a bit. Sometimes it feels like thigns are just getting worse and yes for Muslims, Women, Trans people and other marginalised groups in the US it is getting worse (though hopefully not for long) but I wanted to bring a little bit of optimism into the world and talk about the Gates Letter.

This is something I had no idea existed but Bill and Melina gates write an open letter ever year to the world about how to make it a better place. This year they focused a lot on children, on child mortality, vaccinations and contraceptions. But the also focused on positivity, in seeing that the money people in richer countries are giving to those in the developing world is actually making a difference. Seeing that the world is getting better and to encourage people to keep trying to help to keep donating which stuck with me.

So the world is actually getting better, in a lot of ways, and that's what I wanted to talk about in this blog post because I want to end up living a life where I can help people but I lose hope sometimes and wonder if I ever actually am going to be able to achieve this. But reading about the world actually getting better just gives me more hope, and determination and that's something needed with the way politics is going in the western world at the moment.

This post is going to be talking about some of the statistics in that letter, the big ones that make you sit back and think "wow things are improving" but also to talk about optimism.


86% of the world's children are vaccinated
So there's no vaccine for lots of diseases, such Malaria and Ebola (they're being worked on, especially the first one) and for things like TB there's only vaccines for some strains; but we do have effective vaccines for a lot of diseases, I have a two page list of all the one's I've been given. And 86%  of the worlds children have now received life changing basic vaccinations. Which is having a big impact on decreasing the child mortality rate.
There were only 37 Polio cases last year
You might not have heard of Polio, because it was a disease that was eradicated in Europe in 1998, a huge step. And last year there were only 37 cases worldwide. From 1988 to 2016 the number of cases of this disease, which can cause deformities, paralysis, and death, has gone from 350,000 to 37. And there are chances that it could be eradicated worldwide this year. That's pretty big
300 Million Women in the Developing World use Modern Contraceptives
In the last 13 years this number has grown from 200 to 300 million. Take that Trump. Having access to contraception is a huge deal which means that women have control over their lives, control over when to have children. This means that more women are earning their own money have have greater economic freedom and are able to raise the children they do have better. It also lowers the child mortality rate and the number of women who die in childbirth.
And a big fact for you guys no country in the last 50 years has emerged from povery without expanding access to contraception. So in the global fight against poverty and for gender equality this is a huge huge deal.
The Number of Childhood Deaths Has Halved Since 1990
A combination of vaccinations, access to contraception, healthcare and education as well as a drop in poverty has meant that since 1990 the child mortality rate in developing countries has halved. And the drop in childhood deaths is even accelerating.  Very good news.

Poverty Has Halved since 1990
Yep you read that right, despite growing population in just twenty five years extreme poverty has been halved. That is something amazing and the stat I had to end on because it blew me away. I knew poverty had dropped but I thought it was by a tiny percentage.
Imagine what we could do in another twenty five years.

So hopefully those stats have made you feel a bit better about the world, although it's very easy, especially in the west to live in a bubble, fueled by the media, believing everything is getting worse it's nice to know in a lot of ways for a whole lot of people things are getting better.

And yes things right now with Trump in America and other things going on (I'm sure there are things in every country) make it look like things are going to shit but it is definitely important to stay optimistic. We can make a change, not only can we make the world a better place we already are, we just have to keep going and we're not going to get very far without believing that we can.
People often feel disheartened, me included because the world seems to be getting more fragmented at the moment but as Melinda says in the letter periods of fragmentation often come when society is digesting it's new diversity. So yes it's bad that in a lot of democracy xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny (among other things) have won but I think it's important to look at it as a blip and keep trying to move forward and not lose hope. I'll leave you guys with some of my favourite quotes from the letter about optimism.
"Your success didn't create your optimism, your optimism created your success"
"If you're optimistic disappointments are just disappointments, you don't twist them into  evidence the world is getting worse."
So this is my little post about a very big letter, if you want to read it for yourself you can go here. This post was actually inspired by a video by Lilly Singh with Bill Gates in which you can see here.
And want to help out? You can donate to UNICEF right here, to help end child mortality by supporting the immunisation of children in the poorest countries and to try and reach children most at risk, such as those in war zones.
All statistics in this post were taken from the Gates Letter.
Thanks for reading!

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