Most child deaths con­cen­trated in 10 Asian, African na­tions

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

KUALA LUMPUR: Sixty per­cent of the world’s 5.9 mil­lion chil­dren who died be­fore their fifth birth­day last year were in 10 coun­tries in Asia and Africa, said a study pub­lished yes­ter­day, prompt­ing calls for ac­tion to re­duce the mor­tal­ity.

The study pub­lished in The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal said the lat­est data high­lights the in­equal­ity in chil­dren’s death among the 194 coun­tries it stud­ied, even though the num­ber of un­der-five deaths has fallen by 4 mil­lion com­pared to 2010.

Of the 5.9 mil­lion deaths last year, 3.6 mil­lion hap­pened in 10 Asian and African coun­tries - In­dia, Nige­ria, Pak­istan, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, An­gola, In­done­sia, Bangladesh and Tan­za­nia.

The two lead­ing causes were com­pli­ca­tions due to pre­ma­ture birth and pneu­mo­nia, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from the Johns Hop­kins Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health, the Lon­don School of Hy­giene and Trop­i­cal Medicine and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The re­searchers said child sur­vival has im­proved sub­stan­tially, al­though coun­tries failed to meet the UN Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goal to cut the rate of un­der-five deaths by two-thirds be­tween 1990 and 2015.

The rate fell by 53 per­cent over the pe­riod. The slow progress to re­duce new­born deaths - in the first 28 days of life - ham­pered the MDG tar­get, the re­searchers said. Of the 5.9 mil­lion un­der-five deaths in 2015, 2.7 mil­lion were new­borns.

“The problem is that this progress is un­even across all coun­tries, mean­ing a high child death rate per­sists in many coun­tries,” said the study’s lead author Li Liu, from the Johns Hop­kins Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health in the US. “Sub­stan­tial progress is needed for coun­tries in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and South­ern Asia to achieve the child sur­vival tar­get of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals,” she added.

Un­der the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, which re­placed the MDGs last year, all coun­tries aim to re­duce un­der-five mor­tal­ity to no more than 25 deaths per 1,000 births by 2030. The re­searchers rec­om­mended breast­feed­ing, vac­cines for pneu­mo­nia, malaria and di­ar­rhoea, as well as im­prov­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion to help with chil­dren’s sur­vival. —Reuters

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