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20 September 2007

World failing kids

The world will fall badly short of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal on child mortality, according to a new study.

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The world will fall badly short of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal on child mortality, according to a study of trends published by The Lancet on Saturday.

The fourth goal in the UN's famous Millennium list called for a worldwide decline of 67 percent in the deaths of children aged under five compared with 1990 levels.

The paper, lead-authored by Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, says that the world is on course for a reduction of only 27 percent by 2015.

Regions in Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe have made steady progress, helped in many cases by falls in fertility.

Most problems in sub-Saharan Africa
The big problem occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, where the decline in infant mortality is slower and couples are still having many children.

By 2015, Central Africa, which has the highest rates of all, may even have greater child mortality compared with 1990.

It is projected to have 228 deaths per 1 000 live births, compared with 209 deaths per 1 000 in 1990.

In Southern Africa, the mortality rate will be virtually unchanged, at 69.2 deaths per 1 000 in 2015, compared with 71.0 per 1 000 in 1990.

The lowest rates for child mortality in 2015 are forecast to be in high-income settings in Asia-Pacific countries (2.9 deaths per 1 000); Western Europe (3.0); and high-income homes in North America (5.2). – (Sapa/AFP)

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