In spite of the drastic reduction in child mortality rates that happened since 1990, there are still some countries that have yet to meet the United Nations goals of a two-thirds drop by 2015.
According to a new collective report from the UNICEF, World Health Organization, and the World Bank Group, the total number of children who died before the age of five between 1990 and 2015 has been estimated at a whopping 236.3 million.
If nothing is done to discourage the current child mortality rates, the report’s authors make a gloomy prediction: another 94 million under-5 children will die by 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is responsible for more than half of these deaths, where one in 12 infants don’t make it to their first birthday.
Thousands of lives could be prevented by better quality care offered around the time of childbirth. At the same time, almost half of the deaths occurring before the age of 5 are related to undernutrition.
According to the report, only 24 of the 81 low- and middle income countries –including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Uganda – have managed to reach Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and reduce the child mortality rate by two-thirds.
What’s frustrating for world health offices is that most child deaths could be preventable with available interventions. Progress is visible, but health agencies are looking forward to seeing more lives saved.
Children’s odds of dying before they turn 5 have cut in half compared to the rates registered in 1990, but there are plenty countries which still have to meet the United Nations’ target. India, for example, accounts for 20 percent of the world’s under-5 deaths, registering the highest child mortality rate.
While current reports have India failing to meet the mark, officials at the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry argue that it could still achieve the fourth MDG. The country is experiencing a speedy decline, with the U5MR already dropping under 48 in 1000 live births in 2015, a figure that was as high as 1000 back in 1990.
There are plenty of high-impact factors that contributed to the dramatic reduction of under-5 deaths, including quality antenatal, delivery and postnatal care; breastfeeding; vaccination; pneumonia antibiotics; better sanitation and cleaner water; higher nutritional food and supplements.
Flavia Bustreo, WHO’s assistant director general, believes in pushing the new measures further in order to keep the mortality rate dropping. This goal is just one part of eight, a set of initiatives established in 2000.
The Millennium Development Goals also include targets for improving education and reducing poverty, and were set by leading development institutions in collaboration with the world’s countries.
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