The United Nations have said that although child mortality rates have reduced by more than half globally, it is not enough to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of a two-thirds reduction over the past 15 years.
UN estimated that under-five deaths have dropped from 12.7 million per year in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015. This was contained in a new report titled Levels and Trends in Child Mortality Report 2015, released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank Group, and the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Geeta Rao Gupta said “We have to acknowledge tremendous global progress, especially since 2000 when many countries have tripled the rate of reduction of under-five mortality.
“But the far too large number of children still dying from preventable causes before their fifth birthday – and indeed within their first month of life – should impel us to redouble our efforts to do what we know needs to be done. We cannot continue to fail them.”
Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO added that “We know how to prevent unnecessary newborn mortality. Quality care around the time of childbirth including simple affordable steps like ensuring early skin-to-skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding and extra care for small and sick babies can save thousands of lives every year.”
The report also shows that a child’s chance of survival is based on where he or she is born. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest under-five mortality rate in the world with 1 child in 12 dying before his or her fifth birthday – more than 12 times higher than the 1 in 147 average in high-income countries.