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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora