Child mortality rate declines sharply

Reuters/Ali Jarekji, courtesy - AlertNet

About 14,000 fewer children under age five die each day than did two decades ago, according to a report released Sept. 12 by three United Nations agencies and the World Bank.

The drop -- from 12 million deaths in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011 -- represents a 41 percent decline in child mortality worldwide and cuts across countries by income level. 

“The global decline in under-five mortality is a significant success that is a testament to the work and dedication of many, including governments, donors, agencies and families,” Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director, said in a press release

Lake and others cautioned that the work is not done. About 19,000 children under age five are still dying each day -- mostly from infectious diseases that include pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. More than a third of child deaths are attributable to undernutrition, according to the report. About half occur in only five countries: China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. UNICEF, with the recent launch of its "Believe in Zero" campaign, aims to generate interest in efforts to eliminate preventable child deaths globally.

InterAction members working on global nutrition include those who have partnered with 1,000 Days, an advocacy hub that champions new investment and partnerships to improve nutrition during the critical 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. To learn more about InterAction members' projects to combat child mortality, visit InterAction's Food Security Aid Map