United Nations: The number of children dying before they reach the age of five has hit a new low, according to UNICEF but experts are disturbed that the proportion of babies who die within the first month of life continues to rise.
In 2016, some 5.6 million children died before the reaching their fifth birthday. That’s down from 9.9 million in 2000. Over the same period, the proportion of newborn deaths rose to 46 percent from 41 percent.
“A new UN report released today found that 7,000 newborns die every day, despite a steady decrease in under‑5 mortality. This is a joint report done by UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund], the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Experts say, if the current trends continue, some 60 million children die before the age of five between now and 2030 and half of them will be newborns.
According to the report the increased proportion of newborn deaths was largely due to the difficulty of getting medical care to the world’s poorest people.
“Most of the deaths occur in South Asia and sub‑Saharan Africa. The three main causes are pneumonia, diarrhea and labour complications.
The report says that 5 million lives could have been saved in 2016 alone if developing countries countries’ mortality rates could be brought in line with those of the developed world and that just five countries, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia account for half of the world’s infant mortality.