Infant mortality in the world has been halved in a quarter century but only 62 of 195 countries have achieved the objectives set by the United Nations in this area, according to UN figures released Wednesday.
“The overall mortality rate for children under five was reduced by 53% over the last 25 years,” but for many countries the target set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was not reached, according to the study published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Global child mortality decreased from 12.7 million in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015 (estimate), according to a statistical study by members of the UN and its agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO ) and Unicef.
“Remarkable progress has been made globally to improve the survival of these last 25 years child” comment the authors of this work coordinated by DanZhen You Unicef.
These fall trend “encouraging” in recent years in eastern and southern Africa and noted that while infant mortality remained at the level of 2000, 48 million more children would have died in the last 15 years.
“We must recognize that enormous progress has been made overall, especially since 2000” says the Deputy Director of UNICEF, Geeta Rao Gupta.
“But still too many children continue to die from causes that could be avoided, before their fifth year,” adds the manager in a UN statement.
16,000 deaths per day
Some 16,000 children under five still die every day. In almost half of cases (45%) death occurs within the first 28 days of life.
Prematurity, complications of childbirth, diarrhea, septicemia and malaria are the main direct causes of death for children under five.
However globally “almost half of the deaths are associated with malnutrition,” weakening the resistance of children to disease, says the UN.
Many of these deaths could be prevented if efforts were concentrated on key areas in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where infant mortality rates are highest.
“We know how to prevent the mortality of newborns. Quality care at birth, including simple measures such as skin to skin contact with the mother exclusively breastfeeding and caring for small children and sick could save thousands of lives each year, “comments Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO.
A total of 236.3 million children under five died last 25 years, according to the report, which emphasizes that the chances of survival of a child varies greatly from region to region of the world.
Sub-Saharan Africa shows the infant mortality rate the highest in the world, one child in 12 dies before its fifth birthday. However since the beginning of the century, the infant mortality rate has decreased significantly there, reports the UN.
“Rapid improvements have helped save millions of children since 2000. The effort must continue and accelerate in the sub-Saharan countries” if we want to achieve the new targets for 2030, said Wu Hongbo, deputy secretary general of Nations United for Economic and Social Affairs.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) corresponded to eight global targets adopted in 2000 by the UN for 2015 in various field of development which health and infant mortality.
New targets called “sustainable development goals” just adopted in 2030 for a global child mortality rate target at 25 deaths per 1,000 births against 42.5 in 2015.