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UN Reports Childhood Mortality Rates Halved Since 1990

Update Date: Sep 13, 2013 11:03 AM EDT

In a new report from the United Nations, numbers reveal that childhood death rates have halved since 1990. Even though the mortality rate has fallen over the year, the UN estimated that 6.6 million children younger than five-years-old still died last year. Almost half of the children who died were concentrated in five countries, which were Nigeria, Congo, India, Pakistan and China. The UN believes that more can be done to reduce that rate, especially in these five nations.

"Progress can and must be made," commented Anthony Lake, the executive director at UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund). "When concerted action, sound strategies, adequate resources and strong political will are harnessed in support of child and maternal survival, dramatic reductions in child mortality aren't just feasible, they are morally imperative."

According to the report, the top causes of death in children under five are malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. These three killers are responsible for about 6,000 deaths per day. The UN also reported that poor nutrition causes around 50 percent of these deaths as well. In Nigeria alone, over 30 percent of children's deaths is due to malaria. HIV causes 20 percent of the deaths in this country in children under five. On a global scale, one in every eight children that die under the age of five is from Nigeria. In the report, the authors also outlined the progress that has been made since 1990.

In Eastern and Southern Africa, the number of deaths for children under five has reduced by 50 percent since 1990. Other countries that experienced drastic improvements in their childhood mortality rate are Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Brazil. The authors believe that it is due to the revision of health care, which provided the citizens with more affordable treatment and better care. In West and Central Africa, however, the childhood mortality rates have not halved over the span of 22 years. The report suggests certain countries, such as Nigeria, Congo, Sierra Leone and Pakistan could benefit greatly from more improvements. Furthermore, since 2005, the rate of progress has stalled. The rate of improvement after 2005 was merely four percent per year.

"Yes, we should celebrate the progress," Lake said according to FOX News. "But how can we celebrate when there is so much more to do?"

The UN report can be found here

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