A new report released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, United Nations and the World Bank Group revealed some key data highlighting the estimated 6.3 million child deaths in 2017. Here are some things we learned:
1. 56 million children under age 5 will die from 2018 to 2030.
The report predicts a staggering amount of child deaths if further action is not taken. The prediction for the next 15 years is based on current trends and includes an estimated half of these deaths occurring in newborns. Improving the survival chances of newborns and children remains an urgent challenge.
2. Lower income should not mean less chance at life.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are home to 80% of global child and young adolescent deaths. Infectious diseases, which disproportionally affect children in lower-income settings, remain highly prevalent, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, half of the deaths among children under age 5 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, and another 30% occurred in Southern Asia.
3. Many won’t reach their 5th birthday.
In 2017, neonatal mortality – the probability of dying in the first 28 days of life – was estimated at 18 deaths per 1,000 live births globally. In Sub-Saharan Africa the average ratio for under-five mortality was 76 deaths per 1,000 live births. This translates to 1 in 13 children dying before his or her fifth birthday – 14 times higher than the average ratio in higher income countries. Simple solutions such as access to water and soap can help prevent infections, particularly around the time of birth when newborns are most vulnerable.
4. Monitoring data is key.
Only 70% of the world’s babies have a birth certificate and most child deaths occur without registration. Properly monitoring and registering data can help to inform decision making and generate an accurate picture of progress. Reliable estimates of child and young adolescent mortality at the national, regional and global level are necessary for evidence-based policymaking to improve the survival chances of the world’s children.
5. We are still progressing!
Despite the challenges, there is still good news. The number of children dying under five has fallen dramatically from 12.6 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2017. We are moving in the right direction but further action to prevent newborn and child deaths must be taken if we are to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the full Child Mortality report and all the data here.