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13 September 2012

Global child mortality rates drop by half in the last 20 years

The number of children under 5 dying of preventable diseases has dropped by half since 1990 due to accelerated healthcare services in all regions of the world.

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The number of children under 5 dying of preventable diseases has dropped by half since 1990 due to accelerated healthcare services in all regions of the world, a joint World Bank-UN report said.

The report said an estimated 6.9 million children died before their fifth birthday in 2011, compared with around 12 million child deaths in 1990.

Despite the progress, the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation said an estimated 19 000 children still died every day in 2011, with 40% of them dying within the first month of life. The group includes the World Bank, World Health Organisation, the UN Children's Fund and UN Fund for Population.

The preventable diseases and conditions that cause child deaths are pneumonia, pre-term birth complications, diarrhoea, complications during births and malaria. Even with the 50% reduction in under-5 deaths, the progress still fell short of the global goal of achieving a two-thirds reduction by 2015, under a programme known as Millennium Development Goals.

Progress in reducing child mortality has been marked by disparity from one region to another, however. The report said countries in East Asia and North Africa have cut the rates by more than two-thirds while Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia have been less successful.

Child mortality rates in Sub-Sahara and South Asia currently account for more than 80 per event of the global rates for children under 5.Author: JT Nguyen

(Sapa, Sepember 2012)

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