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UNICEF Report: Decrease in Child Mortality Rates Still Not Enough


In Papua New Guinea, progress regarding child mortality rates are steadily improving.

Under-5 mortality rates (U5MR) decreased this year to 57 deaths in 1,000 live births, down from 89 in the year 1990.

However, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) new estimates reveal that 16,000 children under the age of five still die every day, despite there being global progress in Millennium Development Goal 4.

The report titled: Levels & Trends in Child Mortality Report 2015 indicates that these progressive developments aren’t enough to reach the MDG 4 target globally. It also suggests that in particular regions such as the Caucasus, Central Asia, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, insufficient progress remains.

The Oceania region reduced U-5MR deaths from 74 in 1,000 deaths in 1990, to 51 this year; sadly this is double the 2015 MDG Target set at 25.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest U-5MR, with 1 child in 12 dying before turning five.

As stated in the report, “most child deaths are caused by diseases that are readily preventable or treatable with proven, cost-effective and quality-delivered interventions. Infectious diseases and neonatal complications are responsible for the vast majority of under-five deaths globally.”

Unfortunately, if current trends continue the MDG 4 target will be reached by 2026, which is more than 10 years behind schedule.

“[…]The far too large number of children still dying from preventable causes before their fifth birthday – and indeed within their first month of life – should impel us to redouble our efforts to do what we know needs to be done. We cannot continue to fail them,” said the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Geeta Rao Gupta.

Immediate action should be taken by expanding effective preventative and curative measures, because “every single child death represents the loss of a unique human being”.


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