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UN Report: Child Mortality Rates Falling too Slowly

Update Date: Sep 16, 2014 10:36 AM EDT

According to a new report compiled by the United Nations (UN), some of its agencies, such as Unicef, and the World Bank, the global children mortality rate has fallen by almost 50 percent since 1990. Despite the improvements, the report stated that these rates are not falling fast enough with too many children under five are dying.

"We're building momentum in many countries in the poorest parts of the world," said Dr. Mickey Chopra, UNICEF's head of global programs reported by the Seattle Times.

In the report, the team presented a barometer of health care and nutrition. Based on this measurement, the researchers reported that the mortality rate for children under five-years-old fell from 90 per 1,000 births to 46 per 1,000 births from 1990 to 2013. During this time frame, 223 million children did not make it to their fifth birthday. In 2013, a total of 6.3 million children died before turning five-years-old.

The report also found that the gap in death rates between rich and poor households has fallen in every region of the world, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, where the mortality rate for children under five is the highest at 92 deaths per 1,000 births. African countries had some of the highest children mortality rates throughout the world. The death rates in India and Nigeria alone make up one-third of the total number of deaths throughout the world.

The leading causes of deaths were mostly preventable. They included inadequate nutrition, complications arising during pregnancy, labor and/or delivery, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. Over the two decades, these causes have been addressed more effectively with improved access to treatments, vaccinations and preventive care.

"There has been dramatic and accelerating progress in reducing mortality among children, and the data prove that success is possible even for poorly resourced countries," Dr. Chopra said in a statement reported by the New York Times.

The UN stated that based on how slowly the death rate is falling, the agency's original goal to reduce the mortality rate by two-thirds in 2015 is no longer attainable. Instead, the UN estimated that the goal will be reached by 2026.

The report can be found here.

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