News / Health

Report: Fewer Children Under Age 5 Are Dying

Lisa Schlein
A new report finds that in the past two decades, rapid progress has been made in reducing deaths among children under age five.  It also says that an estimated 6.9 million children died before their fifth birthday, compared to around 12 million in 1990.

Child mortality rates have fallen in all regions of the world in the past two decades, according to a new report.  It says the number of deaths is down by at least 50 percent in eastern, western and southeastern Asia, as well as in northern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the U.N. Population Division collaborated on the report.  

Ties Boerma is the chief of the World Health Organization Health Statistics and Informatics.  Boerma says in the past 10 years, global child mortality has fallen by an average of more than 3 percent a year.  He calls this important progress.  

But, Boerma notes it is not good enough to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of cutting child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.  He says this needs to be radically accelerated to a more than 14 percent reduction in each of the next three years.

“Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia face the greatest challenges in child survival.  More than 80 percent of child deaths in the world occur in these two regions.  About half of child deaths occur in just five countries - India, which actually takes 24 percent of the global total; Nigeria, 11 percent; the Democratic Republic of Congo, 7 percent; Pakistan, 5 percent and China, 4 percent of under-five deaths in the world,” Boerma said.  

Boerma says in developed countries, one child in 152 dies before his or her fifth birthday.  In Sub-Saharan Africa, he says one out of nine children dies, and in Asia that figure is one in 16.  

The report says globally, the leading causes of death among children under 5 are pneumonia, pre-term birth complications, diarrhea, complications during birth, and malaria.  

Tessa Wardlaw, the chief of monitoring and statistics for the U.N. Children’s Fund, says she is encouraged by the progress being made in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The region has the highest under-five mortality rate in the world, but she says the rate of decline in child deaths has more than doubled in Africa.  

“We welcome the widespread progress in child survival, but we importantly want to stress that there is a lot of work that remains to be done.  There is unfinished business and the fact is that today on average, some 19,000 children are still dying every day from largely preventable causes,” Wardlaw said.  

The World Health Organization says the key to tackling these problems is to make sure women have access to health services so complications can be avoided or treated when identified.  

It says having emergency obstetric services at the time of delivery can save both the mother’s and baby’s lives.  WHO also recommends home visits in the days immediately after birth to teach new mothers about the beneficial effects of exclusive breastfeeding.  It says visiting nurses also can ensure proper hygienic care of the cord, and prevent women from getting infections and passing these on to their babies.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid