Paris: The proportion of children under five
who die each year across the globe has dropped 60 per cent
over the past four decades, according to a study published
However, the study said India`s position on child
mortality has remained virtually the same: 146th in 1970 and
140th in 2010.
In the last 20 years the salutary decline in child deaths
across the world has accelerated, with the number of deaths
among newborns, infants and one-to-four year olds falling from
11.9 million to an estimated 7.7 million in 2010, the new
That remains a staggeringly large number of young lives
lost, many to preventable diseases and overwhelmingly in the
world`s poorest nations.
A child born today in Chad, Mali or Nigeria is nearly
sixty times less likely to see her or his fifth birthday than
one born in Scandinavia.
And progress still falls short of the trajectory needed
to meet the UN`s Millennium Development goal of slashing child
deaths globally by 66 per cent between 1990 and 2015.
But the decline in under-five mortality is still an
encouraging achievement, and suggests further progress is
possible, the report says.
Even at the current rate of improvement, there are 31
countries on pace to meet the UN benchmark for 2015, including
Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia and Egypt.
All told, 54 of the 187 nations examined in the study
are poised to reach the goal.
China`s ranking of 77th in 2010 is only a modest
improvement compared to 20 or 40 years ago.
In 1970 there were more than 200 under-five deaths for
every 1,000 live births, the measure used to rank nations in
this grim index.
By 1990, that list had dwindled to 12, and today no
country crosses the 200-death threshold, according to the
study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
"One of the biggest achievements of the past 20 years has
been this incredible progress in countries that historically
have had the highest child mortality in the world," said
Christopher Murray, Director of the University of Washington`s
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and
co-author of the study.
"Unlike adult deaths, where we have seen the gap between
the countries with the highest mortality and the lowest
mortality widen, in child deaths that gap is shrinking," he
said in a statement.