SlateStarCodex has an animation showing the decline in falciparum malaria (the worst disease in the world) from 2000 to 2015:
One reason for this good news is distribution of mosquito-proof bed nets infused with insecticide.
The decline in malaria deaths is probably one minor contributor to the unexpectedly rapid population growth in Africa in this century, which has become one of the great problems facing the world for the rest of this century:
Between 2004 and 2015, the UN World Population Prospects report doubled its African forecast for 2100 from 2 billion to 4 billion:
Fortunately, improved health in Africa could lead to other good things like the unexpectedly delayed demographic transition to modern fertility. If malaria is no longer likely to kill some of your children, then you don’t need to have, say, 6 to make sure you have 3 survive.Unfortunately, there can be a lag in which the traditional fertility behavior based on obsolete expectations of childhood mortality can endure pointlessly long. But that’s what Western NGOs ought to be able to do something about — persuading African women that they and their children can have better lives if they limit their fertility — if they put their minds to it.
At present, however, respectable Westerners worry that somebody would point out that doing that would limit the otherwise coming African inundation of Europe. And isn’t that racist? Sure, African ladies themselves would like campaigns to encourage them to limit their family sizes. But who cares what they think, what if somebody on Twitter calls me out as a racist?
But the phenomenon of “demographic momentum” means we have to get started right away on this problem, and can’t afford dithering around about whether promoting family planning in Africa is motivated by Fear of a Black Planet.