The State of Global Child Health

September 2009: Update on Child Survival

UNICEF:  Child Mortality Rates Decline

In early September 2009, UNICEF released the results the latest data on child mortality rates around the world.  Fewer children are dying from preventable and treatable conditions and diseases - 8.8 million each year, or about 24,000 every day - which continues to demonstrate how child survival programs are proven investments that save lives.

The data shows a 28 percent decline in the under-five mortality rate, from 90 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990, to 65 deaths per 1000 live births in 2008. According to these estimates, the absolute number of child deaths in 2008 declined to an estimated 8.8 million from 12.5 million in 1990, the base line year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

While progress has been made in many countries, the global rate of improvement is still insufficient to reach the MDG, and Africa and Asia combined still account for 93per cent of all under-five deaths that occur each year in the developing world.

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UNICEF: State of the World's Children

Every year, UNICEF releases its annual State of the World's Children report. The informations below is taken from its 2008 report.

Mortality Statistics

Every year, 9.2 million children under age five die from preventable and treatable diseases (2007)

  • 26,000 children under age five die each day (68 per 1,000 live births) (Under-5 mortality rate, 2007) [Exec summary]
    • More than one third of child deaths are attributable to maternal and child under-nutrition
    • Malaria is Africa’s leading cause of under-five mortality (almost 20%)
    • Pneumonia, diarrhea and complications during childbirth are leading causes of death
  • Almost 40% of under five deaths, numbering 3.7 million children, take place during the first 28 days of life (neonatal death rate, 2004)
  • 90 percent of under-5 deaths occur in only 42 developing countries

HIV/AIDS Statistics

  • 2.1 million children under 15 were living with HIV (2007)
  • ~ 420,000 children under 15 were newly infected with HIV (2007)
  • ~ 290,000 children under 15 died of AIDS-related causes (2007)
  • ~ 15,000,000 children under 17 orphaned by AIDS (2007) [exec summary]

Sanitation and Health Statistics

  • Over 40 percent of the world’s population does not have access to basic sanitation
  • More than 1 billion people use unsafe sources of drinking water.
  • ~ 88% of diarrhoeal deaths can be attributed to unsafe drinking water and a lack of improved sanitation and hygiene
    • More than 5,000 children under five die every day as a result of diarrhoeal diseases
    • 2 million children die from diarrhea-related causes each year
  • Of the approximately 120 million children born in the developing world each year,
    • 60 million live in households without access to improved sanitation facilities
    • 24 million live in households without improved drinking water sources, which compromises their survival and development

Intervention and Immunization Statistics

  • 30 million children are not reached by immunization interventions, despite success in immunizations in reducing polio, tetanus, and measles
    • Measles and tetanus still kill more than 1 million children under five each year
  • As a result of Vitamin A deficiencies, between 250,000 and 500,000 children become blind every year, with 70 percent of them dying within 12 months.
    • Even though Vitamin A supplementation saved an estimated 2.3 million lives between 1999 and 2004, only half of young children in poor countries receive it.

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