Child mortality rates falling globally

A new UNICEF report shows that efforts to tackle child mortality have made a tangible impact across the world

Child mortality rates around the world are falling according to a new report by UNICEF, which indicates that substantial progress has been made in reducing infant mortality and in meeting targets to end child poverty by 2015.

The number of children in developing countries that die before the age of five dropped from 100 to 72 per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2008, the Child Mortality Report 2012 shows.

Throughout the world, the total number of under-five deaths fell from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009, indicating that now some 12,000 fewer children die each day than in 1990.

UNICEF confirms that considerable progress has been made by many countries in tackling child mortality, with almost one third of the 49 least developed countries reducing their under-five mortality rates by 40% or more over the past 20 years.

In North Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, child mortality rates have been more than halved since 1990.

However, the report found that almost nine million children still die each year before they reach their fifth birthday, with the highest rates of child mortality being in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, one in seven children died in this area before they reached the age of five.

Causes of child death in developing countries predominantly include malnutrition and a lack of access to primary health care, water and sanitation.