World Makes Significant Gains in Child Survival

The pace of childhood death has declined sharply in recent decades, according to a United Nations report released today.

According to latest annual report of the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME), there was an estimated 6.9 million children died before their fifth birthday in 2011 compared to around 12 million in 1990.

The report says that rates of child mortality have fallen in all regions of the world in the last two decades. The rates were down by at least 50 per cent in Eastern Asia, Northern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South-eastern Asia and Western Asia.

Children in Kallayanpur slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka. Children in the AsiaPacific region now have a much better chance of surviving the first year of life. Between 1990 and 2007, the infant mortality rate fell from 63 to 41 deaths per thousand live births. UN Photo/Kibae Park

In addition, between 2000 and 2011, the annual rate of reduction in the global under-five mortality rate jumped to 3.2 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent in 1990-2000.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the greatest challenge in child survival, the rate of reduction has doubled its rate of reduction.

However, the UN report pointed out that amidst greater gains, proven solutions need to be expanded to accelerate progress on child survival faster and farther

The UN-IGME highlighted hat gains in child survival, although significant, are still insufficient to achieve the fourth MDG.

Only six of the world’s 10 regions are on track to reach the target.

The report unveils that an estimated 19,000 children still died every day in 2011 globally.

In 2011, the UNICEF reported that children’s well-being has improved dramatically thanks to increased global political will and efficient supportive programmes and policies.

Among the most prominent accomplishments highlighted by the report is the significant decline in child mortality rates. Malnutrition also declined in developing countries in the past 18 years.

Another influencing factor has been an increase in targeted spending by countries and development assistance organizations.

However, UNICEF and Save the Children warned that much remains to be done, stressing that there is great need to focus on the poorest households, which have the highest rates of child deaths.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.