UN: Infant mortality has reached historic lows

ООН: Детская смертность достигла исторического минимума

A Sudanese refugee in Chad receives medical care for her child. UN: Infant mortality has reached historic lows Health

The number of deaths among children under five in 2022 reached a historic low. This is reported by the United Nations Interagency Group on Child Mortality Estimation, citing data from its latest report.

4.9 million children died before their fifth birthday—that’s the equivalent of one death every six seconds. Nearly half of the children who died were newborns.

Progress is possible

Inter-Agency Panel report notes that more are surviving today children than ever before, with the global under-five mortality rate falling by 51 percent since 2000.

“Behind these numbers are the stories of midwives and health professionals helping mothers give birth safely, health workers vaccinating children and protecting them from deadly diseases, and front-line health workers visiting families to help protect the child’s health and proper nutrition,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

ООН: Детская смертность достигла исторического минимума

Several low- and lower-middle-income countries demonstrate that progress is possible if sufficient resources are allocated to primary health care. For example, the findings show that in Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia and Rwanda, under-5 mortality has fallen by more than 75 percent since 2000.

Preventable Deaths

Yet the data also shows that despite progress, the global community has a long way to go to end all preventable child and adolescent deaths. In addition to the 4.9 million children under 5, 2.1 million lives were lost among people aged 5 to 24 in 2022. Most of these deaths occurred in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Premature deaths of children were mostly due to preventable or treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during childbirth, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.

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Many lives could be saved with high-quality primary health care, including access to vaccinations, skilled attendance at birth, breastfeeding support, and diagnosis and treatment of childhood illnesses.

Access to help

“Despite the progress that has been made, every year millions of families still suffer from the tragic loss of a child, often in the first days after his birth,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. – Where children are born should not determine whether they live or die. It is critical to improve access to quality health care for every woman and child, including during emergencies and in remote areas.”

Community health workers play an important role in providing families with services such as tests, vaccinations, medications for deadly but treatable diseases, and nutrition support. They should be well trained and integrated into primary health care systems and receive fair pay, according to WHO. Improving the health and survival of children requires integrated management of their illnesses, particularly acute respiratory infections, diarrhea and malaria.

Inequality and conflict

ООН: Детская смертность достигла исторического минимума

While global numbers show signs of progress, there are also significant threats and inequalities that threaten the survival of children in many parts of the world. These threats include growing inequality and economic instability, new and protracted conflicts, climate change and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children born into the poorest families are twice as likely to die before age 5 compared to the richest families, and children living in fragile or conflict-affected areas are nearly three times as likely as children in other places.

Sustainable Development Goals

At current rates, 59 countries will fail to meet the target for reducing under-5 mortality, and 64 countries will miss their target for reducing newborn mortality. This means that by 2030, an estimated 35 million children will die before their fifth birthday, and these deaths will be largely concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and other low-income countries and lower-middle income.

In addition, the report notes the need to improve data collection and statistics systems, especially in least developed countries, to better track and monitor child survival and health .


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