Committing To Child Survival: Progress Report 2013

A new UNICEF report, titled, Committing To Child Survival: A Promise Renewed: Progress Report 2013 shows that if current trends continue, the world will not meet Millennium Development Goal 4  – to cut the rate of under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015.  Worse, if current trends continue, the goal will not be reached until 2028.

The 2013 Progress Report examines trends in child mortality since 1990, analyses the main causes of under-five deaths, and highlights national and global efforts to save children’s lives. The progress made to date is due to the collective efforts of governments, civil society and the private sector, as well as the increase in affordable, evidence-based interventions, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, medicines, vaccines, proper breastfeeding, nutritional supplements and therapeutic food, rehydration treatment for diarrhoea, and improved access to safe water and sanitation, among others.

The report shows sharp reductions in preventable child deaths across all regions of the world, and at all levels of national income, including low-income countries. In fact, some of the world’s poorest countries have made the strongest gains in child survival since 1990.  A few low-income countries with high child mortality rates, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal and United Republic of Tanzania, have already reduced their under-five death rates by two-thirds or more since 1990, reaching Millennium Development Goal 4 for the reduction of child deaths ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Globally, the pace of decline has accelerated with the annual rate of decline tripling since the 1990s.  Sub-Saharan Africa has also accelerated its rate of decline, with its annual rate of reduction increased more than fivefold since the early 1990s.  In the past seven years, Eastern and Southern Africa has been among the best performing regions in the world, reducing under-five mortality at an annual rate of 5.3 per cent in 2005-2012.

By contrast, West and Central Africa recorded the lowest level of progress on child survival, compared to other regions around the globe.   The region also has the highest rate of mortality, with almost one in every eight children dying before the age of five.  West and Central Africa has had virtually no reduction in its annual number of child deaths since 1990.

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