[Embargoed until 13 September 2012 00:01 GMT] ABOUT CHILD MORTALITY ESTIMATES FOR 20111
The number of under-five deaths has decreased from nearly 12 million in 1990 to less 6.9 million in 2011 (see Fig. 1 below). About 14,000 fewer children die each day than did two decades ago. Still, almost 19,000 children under five die every day.
The global under-five mortality rate has fallen from 87 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 51 per 1,000 live births in 2011.
The most pronounced drops in under-five mortality rates from 1990 to 2011 (of at least 50%) have occurred in four regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific; Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States; and the Middle East and North Africa. (Fig. 1)
Twenty high-mortality countries have reduced their mortality ratesby more than half since1990; four countries—Lao People’s Democratic Republic(-72%), Timor-Leste (-70%), Liberia (-68%) and Bangladesh (-67%) – have achieved a reduction of at least two thirds. (Fig. 2)
In 2011, around 50 per cent of global under-five deaths occurred in just five countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China. (Fig 3)
Sub-Saharan Africa, though lagging behind the other regions, has also registered a 39 per cent decline in the under-five mortality rate from 1990 to 2011. (Fig. 1)
In some countries, the total number of under-five deaths has increased: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Somalia, Mali, Cameroon and Burkina Faso have experienced a rise in their national burden of under-five deaths by 10,000 or more for 2011 as compared to 1990.
Several populous middle-income countries have posted rapid declines in under-five mortality in recent decades (1990-2011): Turkey (7.4% annual rate of reduction (ARR)) Peru (6.8% ARR) and El Salvador (6.6% ARR).
The world’s lowest under-five mortality rates are in Singapore, the Nordic countries, some European countries and Japan. (Fig.5)
Among very low mortality countries, a diverse group have achieved the sharpest reductions in under-five mortality rates in the 1990-2011 period. Oman (8.1% ARR), Estonia (8.1% ARR), Saudi Arabia (7.3% ARR), Portugal (6.9% ARR) and Serbia (6.6% ARR).
Globally, the fiveleading causes of deaths among children under five include pneumonia (18%): pre-term birth complications (14%); diarrhoea (11%); intrapartum-related complications (9%) and malaria (7%).
Evidence suggests many of the major declines in under-five deaths in all regions were related to expanded efforts against infectious diseases. For example, measles deaths have declined from an estimated 0.5 million in 2000 to 0.1 million in 2011.
Pneumonia is the leading killer of children under five, causing 18% of all under-five deaths worldwide - a loss of roughly 1.3 million lives in 2011, the bulk of which occur in just two regions, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia
Diarrhoea’s toll has dropped by a third over the past decade, from 1.2 million deaths in 2000 to 0.7 million in 2011.
Nearly all of roughly 0.5 million malaria under-five deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa in 2011. A decade of malaria prevention has saved an estimated one million children’s lives overall.
Around 40 per cent of deaths among children under five occur during the neonatal period (i.e. during the first 28 days of life). In 2011 this amounted to about 3 million deaths worldwide. The heaviest burdens are in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which have both the highest neonatal mortality rates among regions and the largest number of annual births. The majority of neonatal deaths result from preterm birth complications or from intra-partum related events .
Globally, more than a third of child deaths are attributable to undernutrition.
Without treatment, 50 per cent of HIV-infected children die before the age of two. In countries with high HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV-associated mortality in 2010 among children under five ranged from 10 per cent in Mozambique and Zambia to 28 per cent in South Africa.
(Fig 1) Under-five mortality rates and number of deaths, global and regional in 1990 and 2011
Under-five mortality rate
(deaths per 1,000 live births)