The UN Children’s Fund today released new figures that show the rate of deaths of children under five years of age continued to decline in 2008.
The data shows a 28 per cent decline in the under-five mortality rate, from 90 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990, to 65 deaths per 1000 live births in 2008. According to these estimates, the absolute number of child deaths in 2008 declined to an estimated 8.8 million from 12.5 million in 1990; the base line year for the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Compared to 1990, 10,000 fewer children are dying every day,” says UNICEF’s New York-based Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “While progress is being made, it is unacceptable that each year 8.8 million children die before their fifth birthday.”
3.7 million less children dying every year is no small thing.
The data shows global under-five mortality has decreased steadily over the past two decades, and that the rate of the decline in the under-five mortality rates has increased since the 1990s. The average rate of decline from 2000 to 2008 is 2.3 percent, compared to a 1.4 percent average decline from 1990 to 2000.
A good trend.
In some countries, progress is slow or non-existent. In South Africa the under-five mortality rate has actually gone up since 1990.
A bad trend.
I was interested in the changes in each country. Not easy to find, but eventually got it on page 118 of this report.
China’s mortality rate has dropped from 45 to 22 deaths per thousand and India from 117 to 72. These two countries are significant for having opened their economies up and enjoying record economic growth. It shows the benefits of a wealthier society due to free trade.
I estimate 1.6 of the 3.7 million fewer under five deaths comes from China and India alone.