Decline in global child mortality rates

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New data released by the UN indicates that global child mortality rates have decline by 50% since 1990, however it has still not reached 2015 targets.

Regardless of the huge progress made by some countries in this regard, the reduction in deaths of those under the age of five will still not meet the global target of a decrease of two-thirds by 2015.

The head of UNICEF’s global health programmes, Mickey Chopra, said that there has been increased and dramatic progress in reducing the mortality rate among children, and the available data indicates that it is possible to succeed even in countries with low resources.

During 2013, 6.3 million babies died within the first five years of life. Two-thirds of these deaths occurred in 10 countries. Neonatal deaths, which are babies who die within the first month of life, have not declined at all. The 2013 figure for neonatal deaths is almost three million.

During June, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners issued the first global plan to end stillbirths and preventable newborn deaths by 2035. The assistant director general at the WHO, Dr Flavia Bustreo, said the global community is ready to end preventable newborn, child and maternal deaths within one generation. She said they know what needs to be done and how to do it.

Nigeria and India combined account for more than one-third of the deaths among children aged under five years. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest child mortality rates globally, and has recorded reductions which are in line with the average globally.

Angola has the highest under-five mortality rate globally. Children in Angola are 84 times more at risk of dying before they reach the age of five than those born in Luxembourg.

The World Bank Group’s Olusoji Adeyi said that it has become necessary to invest more in health systems to allow the deliverance of affordable, high-quality services to all children and women who need it.

Huge improvements have been achieved by making use of affordable methods such as immunisation and mosquito nets to tackle infectious diseases.

Image Credit: Julien Harneis

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