News / Health

UN: Child Mortality Rate Reduced by Half

Women holding children wait for a medical examination at the health centre in Gbangbegouine village, western Ivory Coast, July 4, 2013.
Women holding children wait for a medical examination at the health centre in Gbangbegouine village, western Ivory Coast, July 4, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
A new report says the number of global deaths among children under age five is almost half what it was 22 years ago.  A joint report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization,and World Bank finds about 6.6 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 2012 compared to 12 million children who died in 1990. 

The report calls the progress being made in cutting child deaths remarkable.  However, it says this is still not good enough.  It says most child deaths are preventable, and that by applying a number of simple, affordable measures, more children’s lives can be saved.

Elizabeth Mason, director of the World Health Organization's department of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, says the first 28 days of life are critical for a child’s survival.  That, she says, is inextricably linked to the care the mother receives during pregnancy and, most importantly, the care she receives during labor, childbirth and the early hours of the baby’s life.

“We have new low-cost solutions that can reduce deaths of pre-term babies by up to three-quarters.  And these include anti-natal corticosteroid injections to the mother when she goes into pre-term labor, kangaroo mother-care where the baby is literally put into a pouch, but next to skin-to-skin care, next to the mother’s chest so that the baby can keep warm and can have early access to breast milk,” said Mason. 

The leading causes of death among children under five years old include pneumonia, prematurity, birth asphyxia, diarrhea and malaria.  Globally, WHO says about 45 percent of under-five deaths are linked to under-nutrition. 

The report says about half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries-China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan.  It notes sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest child mortality rates in the world, with 98 deaths per 1,000 live births.

It says a child born in sub-Saharan Africa faces more than 16 times the risk of dying before his or her fifth birthday than a child born in a wealthy country.  At the same time, the report says the pace of decline in the number of annual deaths has quadrupled since 1990.

Mark Young, a senior adviser on health at the U.N. Children’s Fund, says overall economic development is helpful in reducing child mortality, but poor countries that have a good strategy can make significant gains. 

He cites the case of Niger, one of the poorest countries in West Africa.  Two decades ago, he says, Niger had the highest rate of under-five mortality in the world.  This, he says has been cut by nearly two-thirds.

“They have done this through a series of targeted, focused, government-led initiatives that UNICEF has supported," he said. "They instituted a free health care policy for women and children, abolished user fees, so increased financial access.  They expanded geographic access by establishing a series of rural health posts… staffed by community trained health workers to deliver essential maternal-newborn child health services at the peripheral level.  They implemented a series of integrated mass campaigns to deliver a package of high impact preventive interventions.” 

The package includes childhood immunization, vitamin A, and insecticide treated nets for malaria.  Young says Niger also has set up an emergency nutrition program to address child malnutrition.

The report notes other countries are also implementing life-saving interventions.  It says Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Tanzania, Bangladesh and states in India are following strategies to reduce child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea, which together kill two million children each year. 

These interventions providing antibiotics and oral rehydration salts, introducing new vaccines against these diseases and ensuring access to sanitation and safe drinking water.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Babu G. Ranganathan
September 13, 2013 11:54 AM
PREVENTION AND HEALING OF DISEASE: Numerous scientific studies at universities and colleges have shown that the Aloe vera plant contains a myriad of nutrients (i.e. various vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids) which all together help prevent various diseases and to heal disease.

Read my popular Internet article, CHEMOTHERAPY SUCCESS WITH ALOE VERA! This is a must read article for all those diagnosed with cancer or who have a loved one who is. Just google the title to access the article. There are properties in aloe vera that greatly strengthen the immune system and help protect the immune system and healthy cells from being destroyed by chemo and radiation. The result is that the cancer cells are destroyed while the immune system and more of the healthy cells survive. The properties in aloe vera also help chemo/radiation patients suffer a lot less side effects from the chemo/radiation treatments.

Numerous scientific studies at universities and colleges have shown that the Aloe vera plant contains a myriad of nutrients to help prevent various diseases and to heal disease.

Babu G. Ranganathan
(B.A. Bible/Biology)

THE BEST WEAPON AGAINST GERMS OF ALL KINDS is colloidal silver. Germs, including viruses of all types, cannot develop resistance to colloidal silver. Please read my Internet article, PROTECT YOUR BODY WITH COLLOIDAL SILVER. Just google the title to access the article.
Babu G. Ranganathan
B.A. Bible/Biology

by: walla richard from: Douala_cameroon
September 13, 2013 11:50 AM
African leaders should sit up and try to handle this problem amicably, rather than base their ideas on corrupt practices in their various countries. Leaders, should look into the future with a lot of concern.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs