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Global crisis: Child Mortality

11.01.2023 | UN Communique

According to the latest child mortality report  from the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME), an estimated 5 million children died before their fifth birthday and another 2.1 million children and youth aged between 5–24 years lost their lives in 2021.  Additionally, 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same period, according to a new report on the global situation of stillbirths, also released today. Most of these deaths were due to preventable or treatable causes. 



Though remarkable progress has been made in reducing child mortality across all ages since 2000 – the under-five mortality rate fell by 50 per cent since the start of the century – children face widely different chances of survival based on where they are born. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia shoulder the heaviest burden of child deaths. Children born in sub-Saharan Africa are subject to the highest risk of childhood death in the world – 15 times higher than the risk for children in Europe and Northern America. Mothers in these two regions also endure the painful loss of babies to stillbirth at an exceptional rate, with 77 per cent of all stillbirths in 2021 occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. 



Access to and availability of quality health care continues to be a matter of life or death for children globally. More than 40 per cent of stillbirths occur during labour – most of which are preventable when women have access to quality care throughout pregnancy and birth. For children that survive past their first 28 days, infectious diseases that are treatable like pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria pose the biggest threat. We must do more to ensure quality health care, especially in countries and regions where child mortality is high to end these senseless deaths. 

Please share this email with your networks as appropriate.

Mark Hereward
Chief Data Officer
Division of Data, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring


Steven Lauwerier
Principal Adviser
Programme Group
Health, Polio


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