The news does not always need to be doom and gloom, but the sad truth is that good news is often easily forgotten in light of tragedies.
But there have been many international developments in 2015 that we should all be pleased about, although you may not have even heard about them in the first place.
So here is a quick look back at some of the best news to come out of the past 365 days.
Cuba Eliminates Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission
On June 30 2015 Cuba was officially named the first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
The island nation operates a universal healthcare system and the Cuba has been hailed as a global example by the World Health Organisation.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said:
Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible. This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation”
An estimated 1.4 million women worldwide become pregnant while suffering from HIV, with a risk of up to 45 per cent of passing the virus on to the child. But via extensive prenatal care Cuba has lowered the risk to just one per cent.
Child Mortality Has Fallen By More Than 50 Per Cent Since 1990
In 1990 12.7 million children under the age of five died, but in 2015 that figure was projected to fall below six million for the first time.
Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Luxemburg boasted figures of less than three deaths of under fives per 1,000 births.
Of course there is still plenty of work to be done, and that figure needs to be decreased even further. But there is simply no denying that in comparison to 25 years ago, 2015 has seen mammoth progress.
Global Murder Rates Continue To Fall
The world may be a scary place and terror attacks have citizens across the globe on edge, but statistics confirm the odds of likelihood of being murdered has continued on a downward path.
As stated by Steven Pinker in his paper that confirmed the figures ‘News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen’, hence why this may have slipped you by.
In Mexico, for example, the murder rate has fallen to roughly 20 per 100,000 people. That is less than a third of the homicide rate from the 1940’s.
In England the rate has fallen to less than one per 100,000 people, and in the US it is down to less than five murders per 100,000 people.
Undeniably good news.
Over One Billion People Have Been Pulled Out Of Extreme Poverty
You qualify as living in extreme poverty, according to the United Nations, if you have an income of $1.25 a day. That is just 83 pence sterling.
Back in 1990 this applied to two billion people, almost half of the world population, but now in 2015 that has fallen to 836 million.
We’re going in the right direction.
Nigeria Is Continuing to Weaken Boko Haram
The radicals, who formed in Nigeria’s Borno province, gained international notoriety for hideous attacks and the capture of hundreds of hostages on a semi-regular basis. But since Muhammadu Buhari became President of Nigeria in March the tide seems to be turning.
Government forces have expelled militants from many towns, forcing them to scatter. Although this does not prevent bombings it does mean the Islamic extremists cannot effectively coordinate mass abductions.
Given at one stage the group tried to rival ISIS in declaring a caliphate , the substantial loss of territory has brought them to their knees. Nigerian officials are even predicting that in another year Boko Haram could be wiped out.
Universal Education Has Edged Dramatically Closer
Education is a right of every citizen on this planet, not a privilege, and so it is good news that education rates in developing regions continue to increase.
Based on the latest data available, enrolment in primary education in developing regions hit 90% in 2012, that’s up from 83% in 2000, and 80% in 1990.
So nine out of every ten children in developing regions is receiving the education that will drive their nation’s forward in the years to come.
Mankind Is Set To Eradicate Guinea Worm
The year 2015 not only saw Jimmy Carter announce that he was free of brain cancer, but also that his foundation is on course to eradicate Guinea worm.
Carter has been involved in the fight against the parasitic worm for around 30 years, and his success is bringing hope similar tactics could counter Ebola.
The parasite is infected into the body via unclean drinking water, and having grown up to one metre in size, the worm starts a 30-day exit from the body where it causes massive swelling and infection.
23,735 villages globally had reported the disease in 1991, but that is down to just 30 in Mali, Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan in 2015.
Excellent work Mr President.
ISIS Is Losing Territory
The so-called Islamic State thrives on propaganda and media campaigns that they believe delivers their message, so it is great news to announce that 2015 delivered the extremists numerous setbacks.
On November 13, while much of the media was focused on attacks in Paris, ISIS lost the key city of Sinjar in Iraq.
This victory for Kurdish and Yazidi forces severs the terrorist’s supply line from Iraq to Syria.
Not only this but bombing of oil fields and a price crash has hit the extremist’s purse. Fighters who aren’t getting paid aren’t as highly motivated, and civilians who are increasingly taxed will resent ISIS rule more and more. The wheels could well come off.
And not forgetting, Kurdish intelligence has suggested that ISIS has grown far weaker, and, although it is always preferable to avoid war, could be ‘defeated in weeks’ should western forces engage totally.
Ridiculous ‘luxury item’ taxes aside, 2015 has generally seen continued improvements to the lives of women the world over.
A UN report confirmed this, stating that women are ‘living longer, healthier lives with better education’.
Maternal deaths fell by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013 on a global scale, and non-fatal domestic violence rates fell in the US by a whopping 63 per cent between 1994 and 2012.
There is zero reason those figures can’t continue to improve as women’s rights continue to be fought for in 2016.
World Hunger Has Fallen
2015 saw hunger in developing nations fall by 27 per cent since the year 2000, and the level was halved in 17 countries.
Although roughly 600,000 people have died as a result of ‘great famines’ in the 21st century, but that is down from over 25 million in the early 1900’s, and over 15 million in the 1960’s.
The curve is heading in the right direction.
There is always work to do, and we should always be aiming for better, but 2015 has provided mankind with plenty to be proud of and build on.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.