Under-five mortality falls: UNICEF

United Nations, Sep 9 (IANS) The global under-five mortality has fallen by 53 percent, from 91 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43 in 2015, said a UNICEF report.

The report “A Promise Renewed: 2015 Progress Report” said the number of children who die from mostly preventable cause before they turn five now stands at 5.9 million a year, down from 12.7 million 25 years ago , Xinhua reported citing the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report launched on Tuesday.

Leading causes of under-five deaths include pre-maturity, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria. Under-nutrition contributes to nearly half of all under-five deaths.

Data from the report show that since 2000, when governments committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the lives of 48 million children under the age of five have been saved.

“Saving the lives of millions of children is one of the first great achievements of the new millennium — and one of the biggest challenges of the next 15 years is to further accelerate this progress,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt.

“The data tell us that millions of children do not have to die — if we focus greater effort on reaching every child,” she said.

The retiring MDGs are a set of development goals agreed by world leaders in 2000. One of MDGs is to reduce by two thirds the under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2015. Despite the progress the world has made, this goal has not been met.

The upcoming UN summit is going to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the international development over the next 15 years.

One of the proposed new goals asks to bring rates of under-five mortality down to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.

UNICEF called for greater efforts through cost effective solutions like skilled antenatal, delivery and postnatal care, breastfeeding, immunisation to save an additional 38 million lives by 2030.

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