A United Nations report says the number of children who die before the age of five has fallen drastically in the past decade, amid gains in health care, education, development programs and economic progress.
The report released by the U.N. Children's Fund
shows less than seven million kids under age five died last year, compared to nearly 12 million in 1990.
The countries with the biggest decline in mortality rates include Laos, East Timor, Liberia, Bangladesh and Rwanda. Collectively, countries in East Asia and Latin America cut their rates by more than half.
But the report says much more must still be done to meet a worldwide goal of reducing deaths by another 43 percent by 2015. The United Nations says almost 19,000 children under five die every day.
Higher mortality rates persist in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria account for many of the deaths.