Save the Children Canada

Save the Children Canada

September 13, 2013 11:31 ET

New Data Shows Global Reduction in Child Mortality

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 13, 2013) - The United Nations has today published its annual statistics on child mortality around the world. The data reveals that the number of children dying every year has halved in a generation - down from 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

Patrick Watt, Global Campaigns and Advocacy Director for Save the Children International, 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 lies within our grasp. This demonstrates that widespread efforts to improve access to life-saving healthcare for some of the world's most vulnerable children are working. But these efforts need to be stepped up in order to prevent millions more children from dying."

The new data reveals that this historic 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. 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. Donor countries and international organisations should also make sure no child dies for lack of resources.

Background

The new data from UNICEF shows that over the past 20 years, around 90 million children[1] were able to survive thanks to proven solutions and global and national efforts. These are lives that would have been lost had 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. "The global annual rate of reduction in under-5 mortality has steadily accelerated from 1.7 per cent in 1990-2000 to 3.8 per cent in 2000-2012."

Under-5 mortality has been almost halved, 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[2] children every day - 18,000 children who will never celebrate their fifth birthdays, never finish school, and never fulfil their dreams or realize their potential in the world.

Newborn deaths now accounts for 44 per cent of all under-five deaths in 2012 up from 37% in 1990 despite the knowledge of cost-effective solutions.[3] Every year, one million babies die on the day they are born.[4] Improving care during labour, birth and first hours of life will not only save babies, it will also save the lives of women and prevent stillbirths.

Another major challenge is that global progress remains uneven, both in terms of disparities within countries and between countries.

Seven high-mortality, low-income countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Timor Leste and United Republic of Tanzania) have already reduced their under-five mortality rates by two-thirds or more since 1990, reaching MDG 4 before the 2015 deadline. Impressive results have also been seen in a number of other low-income countries: Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Uganda.[5]

[1] APR 2013
[2] APR 2013
[3] APR 2013
[4] http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/State_of_World_Mothers_2013.pdf
[5] APR 2013

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