Nearly one-third fewer young children died in 2007 than in 1990, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
The Geneva-based body said that about 9 million children under 5 years old died in 2007, compared with 12.5 million in 1990, the Associated Press reported.
The WHO said the 27% decline shows progress is being made toward the goal of a two-thirds reduction in deaths by 2015, which is one of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. The data on young children's deaths were included in more than 100 health trends published this week by the WHO, the AP reported.
While these statistics denote progress, it is important to highlight that the majority of child deaths still occur in Africa. According to a WHO report in April 2006, it is estimated that there were 4,833,000 child deaths in Sub-Saharan African alone in the year 2004.
The major causes of child deaths in African countries were cited as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea, and neonatal problems. Malnutrition also underlies about half of these deaths. –(HealthDay News, Updated by Thania Gopal, Health24, May 2009).