, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – A report released by UNICEF on Friday showed that under-five mortality has decreased by a third between 1990 and 2009 globally.
According to the 2010 report – Levels & Trends in Child Mortality – issued by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, in the year 2009, 8.1 million children died per year compared to the 12.2 million who died in 1990 before celebrating their fifth birthday.
“The global under-five mortality rate has dropped by a third over that period, from 89 deaths per 1,000 live births to 60 in 2009. The good news is that these estimates suggest 12,000 fewer children are dying each day around the world compared to 1990,” the report indicated.
UNICEF however believed the mortality rate of under-fives was still very high with estimates that 22,000 children die each day with 70 percent of the deaths occurring in the first year of the child’s life.
The report showed that the highest rates of child mortality were in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Southern Asia.
About half of global under-five deaths occurred in just five countries in 2009 in India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China.
“The highest rates of child mortality continue to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, where 1 in 8 children dies before their fifth birthday–nearly 20 times the average for developed regions (one in 167). Southern Asia has the second highest rates, with about 1 in 14 children dying before age five,” it read.
UNICEF said despite the decline, the rates were still very high an indication that it will be hard to achieve the millennium goal of reducing it by 2015.
Most unfortunate is that children die of preventable causes.
According to the report, “while the speed at which under-five mortality rates are declining improved for 2000 to 2009 compared to the previous decade, the under five deaths are still not decreasing fast enough –especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and Oceania–to achieve Millennium Development Goal target (of a two thirds decline between 1990 and 2015).”
Another report released on Wednesday by UNICEF, World Bank, World Health Organisation and UNFPA indicated that maternal deaths had as well dropped by a third globally.
It showed that there were 358,000 maternal deaths in 2008 compared to the 546,000 deaths in 1990.
Despite the decrease in maternal and child mortality, developing countries still continue to bear the highest brunt meaning they have a long way to go to save lives of children and pregnant mothers during and after birth.