Early childhood deaths halved since 1990: report

September 13, 2013

Early childhood deaths around the world have been cut in half since 1990 but some 18,000 children under five still die every day, according to a new report out Friday.

Around 6.6 million children perished before their fifth birthday last year, compared to 12.6 million in 1990, said the report by UNICEF, the World Bank and the World Health Organization.

The report credited more effective and affordable treatments, new ways of delivering healthcare to the poor, as well as political commitment for the gains.

But it also underscored that much remained to be done.

"This trend is a positive one. Millions of lives have been saved," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director.

However, "most of these deaths can be prevented, using simple steps that many countries have already put in place. What we need is a greater sense of urgency."

All regions except Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa saw more than a 50 percent decline.

In eastern Asia, early childhood deaths have dropped by 74 percent and in Northern Africa the decline was 69 percent.

But were still elevated in some regions, with around 80 percent of under-five deaths in 2012 still taking place in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Currently some 18,000 children under five die every day. Half of those deaths take place in five countries: China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The immediate causes are mostly pneumonia, prematurity, , diarrhea and malaria, according to the report.

But 45 percent can be linked to undernutrition, it said.

The report also said that, despite the improvements, the effort to cut was falling short of the target set in the Millennium Development Goals—bringing the rate down by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.

Explore further: Africa, South Asia lag in boost to global child health

Related Stories

Africa, South Asia lag in boost to global child health

September 13, 2012
The global mortality rate for young children has been nearly halved in the past two decades, but Africa and South Asia have not kept pace, the United Nations said Thursday.

Pneumonia, diarrhea are top killers of kids: UNICEF

June 8, 2012
Pneumonia and diarrhea are among the top causes of childhood deaths around the world, particularly among the poor, said a report out Friday by the UN Children's Fund.

Maternal deaths cut by half: UN

May 16, 2012
Better care has cut the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth by nearly half in the past two decades, but there is still a death every two minutes, according to UN figures released Wednesday.

Experts seek ramped up action to save newborn lives

April 15, 2013
More and more newborn babies are dying annually despite greater knowledge about what kills them, and cheap and simple measures to save them, a global conference in Johannesburg heard Monday.

UN aims to end child deaths from diarrhoea, pneumonia

April 12, 2013
The United Nations launched a plan Friday aimed at all but eradicating childhood deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia by 2025, in a bid to save the lives of some two million children every year.

Preventable infectious diseases caused almost two-thirds of global child under-5 deaths in 2010

May 10, 2012
In 2010, preventable infectious diseases were responsible for almost two-thirds of the 7.6 million deaths of children under five worldwide, according to new estimates published Online First in The Lancet. Although child deaths ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.