Worldwide mortality in children younger than 5 years has dropped

January 01, 0001

Worldwide mortality in children younger than 5 years has dropped

Previous assessments have highlighted that less than a quarter of countries are on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4), which calls for a two-thirds reduction in mortality in children younger than 5 years between 1990 and 2015. In view of policy initiatives and investments made since 2000, it is important to see if there is acceleration towards the MDG 4 target. The researchers assessed levels and trends in child mortality for 187 countries from 1970 to 2010.

Worldwide mortality in children younger than 5 years has dropped from 11.9 million deaths in 1990 to 7.7 million deaths in 2010, consisting of 3.1 million neonatal deaths, 2.3 million postneonatal deaths, and 2.3 million childhood deaths (deaths in children aged 1-4 years). 33.0% of deaths in children younger than 5 years occur in south Asia and 49.6% occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with less than 1% of deaths occurring in high-income countries. Across 21 regions of the world, rates of neonatal, postneonatal, and childhood mortality are declining. The global decline from 1990 to 2010 is 2.1% per year for neonatal mortality, 2.3% for postneonatal mortality, and 2.2% for childhood mortality. In 13 regions of the world, including all regions in sub-Saharan Africa, there is evidence of accelerating declines from 2000 to 2010 compared with 1990 to 2000. Within sub-Saharan Africa, rates of decline have increased by more than 1% in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and The Gambia.

The researchers concluded: "Robust measurement of mortality in children younger than 5 years shows that accelerating declines are occurring in several low-income countries. These positive developments deserve attention and might need enhanced policy attention and resources."

Overall positive, but there are some interesting figures within the data not captured in the abstract eg the UK dropping from 12th best position to 33rd.

For the full abstract, click here.

The Lancet published online 24 May 2010
© Elsevier Ltd 2010
Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970—2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4. Julie Knoll Rajaratnam, Jake R Marcus, Abraham D Flaxman et al. Correspondence to Prof Christopher Murray:

Category: GH. Global Health. Keywords: neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, mortality, databases, systematic analysis, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 18 June 2010

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