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Global Child Mortality Rate Is Shrinking, But Not Enough To Reach MDG, UNICEF/WHO Report Says

“The annual number of children who die before they reach age five is shrinking, falling to 7.6 million global deaths in 2010 from more than 12 million in 1990, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday” in their annual report (.pdf) on child mortality, Reuters reports. “Overall, 12,000 fewer children under age five die each day than a decade ago,” according to the report, the news agency notes. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement that “many factors are contributing to reductions in child mortality, including better access to health care for newborns, prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, access to vaccines, clean water and better nutrition,” the news agency writes (Steenhuysen, 9/14).

“Some of the greatest improvements are in countries where children are most vulnerable,” such as Niger, according to a UNICEF/WHO press release (9/15). “Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of child mortality is greatest, the rate of improvement has more than doubled in the past decade, a sign that even the poorest regions can make progress, said” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, according to Reuters. Despite the progress, “improvements in child mortality rates will not be enough to meet the United Nation’s goal set in 2000 of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015,” according to the report, the news agency notes (9/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.