World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of deaths among children under the age of 5 has been on a significant decline for over two decades in Turkey as well as several other middle income countries, according to a report released Wednesday night by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
According to the 2012 Progress Report on Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, low income countries such as Bangladesh, Liberia and Rwanda, middle income countries including Brazil, Mongolia and Turkey, and high income countries such as Oman and Portugal have made dramatic gains, lowering their under-5 mortality rates by more than two-thirds between 1990 and 2011.
According to data provided by the report, the number of children under the age of 5 dying globally has dropped from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011. In 2010, there were 7.6 million under-5 deaths. However, around 19,000 boys and girls around the world are still dying every day from largely preventable causes, the report said.
UNICEF and partners place a heavy focus on preventable diseases. UNICEF Chief of Health Ian Pett said the fund is concentrating its energies much more on the countries where the biggest challenges remain. “We are focusing on the killers of children that haven't received enough attention yet,” Pett said when introducing the UNICEF report to the international media. Those killers include pneumonia, which is responsible for 18 percent of deaths of children under 5, and diarrhea, which is responsible for 11 percent.
The report underscores that a country's location and economic status need not be a barrier to reducing child deaths.
According to the report, four-fifths of under-5 deaths in 2011 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. More than half the pneumonia and diarrhea deaths occur in just four countries: Congo, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
"Given the prospect that these regions, especially sub-Saharan Africa, will account for the bulk of the world's births in the next years, we must give new impetus to the global momentum to reduce under-5 deaths," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the report. Lake also said youngsters from disadvantaged and marginalized families in poor and fragile nations are the most likely to die before their fifth birthday. “But their lives can be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care,” he added.
UNICEF said the rate of decline in under-5 deaths has drastically accelerated in the last decade, from 1.8 percent per year during the 1990s to 3.2 percent per year between 2000 and 2011. “There is much to celebrate,” Lake said. “More children now survive their fifth birthday than ever before -- the global number of under-5 deaths has fallen from around 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011.”
But UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta stressed that there is “unfinished business” and that it is not just about the number of child deaths.
Equipment donation to children's oncology institute is first project of state-run aid agency TIKA in Brazil
Some 450 other suspected cases seen in island nation; president says health workers are able to contain epidemic
UN says 900,000 doses of oral vaccine are to be given to Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar
3 cholera quarantine centers have been formed where victims are being treated
12 cases confirmed, 32 persons quarantined to halt spread of disease, says disease control body
Provided by UNICEF, vaccinations will be administered by public health officials in Syria’s Idlib province
Eggs tainted by the insecticide mostly originate from farms in those two countries but have since been found in 45 nations worldwide, the European health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitisa said last week.
The UN says cholera is a major public health problem in the country with millions of cases registered every year. Last year, the disease claimed 817 lives there, according to the WHO.
The ministerial meeting will include representatives from some 30 countries, according to Canada's minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna.
Cholera is endemic in Nigeria, with a rise in cases during rainy season from April to September, says disease control center
Police officers tested positive for cholera after eating infected food; health minister blames food workers
"Up to September 1, 14 deaths have been reported," the health ministry said in a statement, adding that "the total number of suspected cholera cases stands at 186."
Pharmaceutical company says treatment has more than 80 percent success rate for form of leukemia
Federal agency orders StemImmune to stop injecting vaccine into tumors of cancer patients
565,041 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the country since April 27
Unknown health risks include cancer, respiratory diseases, birth defects and reduced cognition