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Under-Five Mortality Rate Reduced, More Work Required – UN Report

Unic Press UK: A United Nations report ‘Levels & Trends in Child Mortality’ issued Thursday has laid bare the health and well-being of children as of 2015, vis-à-vis the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and world leaders’ commitment toward reducing the under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.

There is remarkable progress, but an acceleration is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target on child survival, especially in high mortality countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) said in its report.

Highlights of the report

From 1990 until 2015, sixty-two of one hundred and ninety-five countries with available estimates met the MDG 4 [Reduce Child Mortality] target, which was, to achieve a two-thirds reduction in the under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2015, but more work is required to reach the MDG 4 target globally, in many regions, particularly in Caucasus and Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Southern Asia.

A substantive acceleration was registered in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest rate of under-five mortality, given that its yearly rate of reduction had increased from 1.6 percent in 1990s to 4.1 percent in 2000–2015. Yet, an acceleration of this progress is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target on child survival.

There has been a perceptible decline in the number of under-five deaths worldwide:

“The number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from 12.7 (12.6, 13.0) million in 1990 to 5.9 (5.7, 6.4) million in 2015 – 16,000 every day compared with 35,000 in 1990,” reads the UN report.

The annual rate of reduction in under-five mortality increased from 1.8 percent in 1990–2000 to 3.9 percent in 2000–2015, thereby illustrating a globally accelerating progress in reducing the under-five mortality rate.

In most cases, under-five deaths in the world had resulted from neonatal complications and infectious diseases that are preventable and treatable with proven and cost-effective medications.

“Globally, the neonatal mortality rate fell from 36 (35, 38) deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 19 (18, 21) in 2015, and the number of neonatal deaths declined from 5.1 (4.9, 5.3) million to 2.7 (2.5, 2.9) million. However, the decline in neonatal mortality from 1990 to 2015 has been slower than that of post-neonatal under-five mortality: 47 percent compared with 58 percent globally,” the UN said.


The UN IGME that produced the report was established in 2004 to help in harmonizing child mortality estimates within the UN system for reporting on progress made towards child survival goals; improve methods for child mortality estimation; and improve capacity to produce timely and thoroughly assessed estimates of child mortality.

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