Child mortality remains alarmingly high

Despite making some progress, the world is expected to fall short of the target to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 4).

Thus concludes the report “Child Mortality – Levels And Trends 2011”, published jointly in mid-September by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), children’s charity UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the UN Population Division. The report states that nearly 21,000 children under five died every day in 2010 – about 12,000 fewer a day than in 1990. This is a drop of around 35 percent in twenty years. In absolute terms, the number of deaths among children under five has declined from more than 12 million a year in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. 

The risk for children of dying from preventable or treatable illness is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in eight children under five still dies. In South Asia, one in fifteen children dies before their fifth birthday. Most children’s deaths result from four causes: pneumonia (18 %), diarrhoeal diseases (15 %), preterm birth complications (12 %) and birth asphyxia (9 %). More than a third of deaths in children under five is associated with chronic or acute malnutrition. Against this backdrop, UNICEF warns of further child mortality in the Horn of Africa, where in Somalia alone some 160,000 children are currently severely malnourished and therefore at acute risk. 

Children from rural and poorer households are nearly twice as likely to die before they turn five than children in urban areas and wealthier families. UNICEF is therefore calling on governments to work for better access to basic services for the most disadvantaged families.            


The report can be downloaded at:

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