Health News

Child Mortality Rate: United Nations Reports Reduction, Target Still Missed

United Nations

The mortality rate of children under the age of five has been halved globally since 1990. This figure is still short of the UN goal to slash infant and children deaths by two-thirds over 25 years, according to a report released by several United Nations agencies.

A mere 62 out of 195 countries met goals they set 15 years ago, reports Gulf News. However, the death rates of children are down worldwide from 91 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43 per 1,000 in 2015.

In actual numbers, this means the death toll of babies and children has gone down from 12.7 million in 1990 to an estimated 5.9 million currently.

Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Geeta Rao Gupta says that while the progress is tremendous, too many of these children die “from preventable causes,” which should “impel us to redouble our efforts to do what we know needs to be done.”

We have to acknowledge tremendous global progress, especially since 2000 when many countries have tripled the rate of reduction of under-five mortality. But the far too large number of children still dying from preventable causes before their fifth birthday – and indeed within their first month of life – should impel us to redouble our efforts to do what we know needs to be done. We cannot continue to fail them.

The biggest challenge is the period right around birth, claims the report. Forty-five percent of these deaths are within the first 28 days of life, UN News Centre reports. The leading causes of death in children under the age of 5 are prematurity, complications during labor and delivery, diarrhea, sepsis, malaria, and pneumonia. Nearly half of the reported deaths are in conjunction with malnutrition.

The study notes that most of these deaths are preventable with the correct interventions. It suggests that by concentrating on regions with the highest rate of infant and children deaths – South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – the child mortality rates will drop more drastically and quickly.

In other news concerning aid for third-world countries, a new “drinkable book” has been invented, allowing developing communities access to filtered water.

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