Dramatic global reduction in child deaths announced

New child mortality figures released by the UN today show the number of children dying every year has almost halved in a generation – down from 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. It's further proof that efforts to reduce poverty are producing results.

Friday 13 September 2013

mum holding baby - today dramatic global child deaths was announced

Hailing the news our chief executive, Justin Forsyth, said: "Dramatic global progress is being made in saving children’s lives and we are now at an historic point where ending preventable child deaths is within our grasp.

"This is further evidence that massive efforts to eliminate poverty are paying off."

However the new research also reveals that this opportunity is at risk because two main challenges remain: the poorest children are being excluded and too many children are still not surviving the first month of life.

Challenges remain

"Governments need to take urgent action to deliver health care and nutrition to every child if we are going to see sustainable progress in coming years, and give special attention to newborns and the most excluded. Every child has the right to survive, no matter where they are born," added Mr Forsyth.

The latest findings from the UN show that over the past 20 years, around 90 million children were able to survive thanks to proven solutions and global and national efforts.

These are lives that would have been lost had child mortality remained at 1990 levels.

Encouragingly, the world is currently reducing under-five deaths faster than at any other time during the past two decades.

Progress in the poorest countries

This is thanks to greater investment in nutrition, trained health workers, life-saving immunisations and treatment against major childhood killers such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.

Seven poor countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Timor-Leste and Tanzania) have already reduced the number of children who die before theitr fifth birthday by two-thirds or more since 1990.

Impressive results have also been seen in a number of other poor countries such as Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Uganda.

But despite this remarkable progress, 6.6 million children still died in 2012 mainly from preventable causes.

That’s a loss of around 18,000 children every day – 18,000 children who will never celebrate their fifth birthdays, never finish school, and never fulfill their dreams or realise their potential in the world.