Global under five mortality rate declines since 1990

Friday 14th, September 2012 / 09:00 Written by


Copyright: Stephan Rebernik

Copyright: Stephan Rebernik

Yesterday UNICEF published, together with the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, its progress report on Child Survival claiming that

The global number of under-five deaths has fallen from around 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011 (..) Nine low-income countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda reduced their under-five mortality rate by 60% or more.

According to the report ‘Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed’ Sub Saharan Africa, which has the greatest challenge in battling against child mortality, has doubled its decline from 1.5% between 1990-2010 to 3.1% in 2010-2011.  But although the numbers are decreasing, Sub Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are still countable from 80% of all under five deaths every year.

The global decline in under-five mortality is a significant success that is a testament to the work and dedication of many, including governments, donors, agencies and families, said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.

But there is also unfinished business: Millions of children under five are still dying each year from largely preventable causes for which there are proven, affordable interventions.

On average 19.000 children die every day from largely preventable causes.

These lives could be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care. The world has the technology and know-how to do so. The challenge is to make these available to every child.

By 2015 the under-five mortality rate needs to be cut by two third to meet the 4th Millennium Development Goal (MDG). Although the numbers declined, only 6 of the 10 regions are on track to meet the MDG.

The report combines the mortality rates with naming under five killer diseases like pneumonia (18%), pre-term complications (14%), diarrhoea (11%), complications during birth (9%) and malaria (7%) and their high-impact strategies to fight these diseases.
The conclusion that can be drawn is that chosen strategies worked but need to be expanding or new more effective measurements need to be taken in certain parts of the world where the under-five mortality rate is among the highest. UNICEF professed on its website that they believe the report will re-energize the fight for child survival creating more opportunities for great strategies and cooperation between NGO’s and governments.

Since June, more than half the world’s governments have signed up and renewed their commitment to child survival. Among five priority actions, partners pledge to accelerate progress by focusing on areas where the challenge for child survival is the greatest.

For further reading you can find the complete report online:

Committing to ChildSurvival: A Promise Renewed‘ (UNICEF)

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