Africa: Early Childhood Survival Improving Globally

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More children are surviving their early years and maturing into adolescence than in the past, and the international community is celebrating the progress.

The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the United Nations’ Population Division report data September 13 showing that child deaths worldwide were down by almost half in 2012 as compared to 1990. More than 12 million children under age 5 died, mostly from preventable causes, in 1990. In 2012, the annual number of young deaths was down to 6.6 million.

“Millions of lives have been saved,” said UNICEF Director Anthony Lake. “And we can do still better.”

The leading causes of death among children in these early years are pneumonia, prematurity, birth asphyxia, diarrhea and malaria, all of which are preventable if the right maternal and child care programs are in place. The decline in deaths is directly related to the “simple steps that many countries have already put in place,” Lake said.

The news is welcomed at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The financial and technical contributions of the U.S. government are a major catalyst in the remarkable progress that has been made in reducing the unconscionable number of preventable child deaths and in building the capacity to fight disease in many countries,” said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID assistant administrator for global health.

Source: allAfrica (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health