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More than
couple of decades ago there was widespread poverty and impoverishment
especially in areas of Africa and large parts of Asia and south-east Asia. In
these countries almost 50% of the people were having an average income of less
than a dollar, one of the lowest sustenance levels in the world. Adding to
these numbers, more than 25% of the children below the age group of 12 years were
malnourished and underfed which resulted in their being under-weight. In terms
of number of children going to school, Africa had the worst numbers with only
one in two had some access to education.


have started to improve especially in the recent years as the numbers suggest
with decreasing poverty ratio and higher number of school enrollment and better
food security, but still large number of people are suffering from poverty.
World Bank figures (Fig.
1) suggest that absolute number of people living below
poverty 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 markedly
decline of poverty ratio especially in East and South-East Asia where the
proportion of people living in poverty has come well below the 50% mark. Many
of the reports of UN and World Bank suggest that there is improvement in many
of the socio-economic parameters and this improvement is happening in quicker
pace than ever before. If one goes into the numbers, there is drastic reduction
in percentage of malnourished children and infant mortality rate has reduced to
a great extent with better medical and food security. Now more and more
children are going to school and dropout percentage has been continuously
decreasing as more and more stress is being given by governments to primary and
female education. Figures from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report suggest
a vast improvement especially in areas of poverty reduction, more number of
girls going to school and better and more access to clean drinking water. Some
of the other parameters of MDGs such as infant mortality rate, nutritional
intake and percentage of children enrolled in primary school still needs improvement
but it is hope that with adequate push and concerted effort by governments,
these targets will be met soon. From the Fig.2 as given below, it can be seen
the maternal mortality rate is still way off the expected levels. Greater
emphasis in this regard has to be given in order to reduce maternal mortality

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the study conducted by Melamed (2011), he observed that these numbers do not
tell everything and still there exists high level of inequality within large
number of countries as well as between countries more so in terms of Per-capita
income parameter. The study by Hillebrand (2009), he goes on to highlight that
in last 25 years more than half a quarter of a billion people have come out of
poverty levels but still they are facing inequality of some sort at the society
levels. Studies conducted by Save the
Children foundation, found that many of the countries showing child
mortality rate reduction, still the poorest did not see any change with some
countries actually showing increase in death rates especially among the lowest
strata of the population.

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