According to UNICEF, the under-five child mortality rate (CMR) has dropped significantly in all regions of the world over the past 20 years, including in both low and middle-income countries.
12 million children were dying of preventable causes before their fifth birthday in 1990. Today, that number has been cut nearly in half to 6.9 million. Liberia, Laos, and East Timor saw the biggest declines.
Rates of reduction in child mortality have doubled in the past decade from 1.8% to 3.2%, including in Sub-Saharan Africa which has historically had the most trouble reducing child deaths.
While this drop shows significant progress, it will not be enough to achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal, which aimed to cut child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
Leading causes of death for children of this age include pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and pre-term and full-term birth complications. A majority of these deaths occur in just five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a June 2012 summit, half of all nations pledged to accelerate action on child survival ahead of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals. Further progress will depend upon the continuation of support for education, sanitation, and clean water initiatives targeted at the most vulnerable populations.
– Jordan N. Hunt
Source: UNICEF, BBC