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One in every nine children in sub-Saharan Africa dies before age of 5-Study

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By staff writer

newsdesk@greatlakesvoice.com

A new study reveals huge strides in reducing the global infant mortality rate and also highlights some longstanding roadblocks. But under-5 deaths are increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

One in every nine children in sub-Saharan Africa dies before reaching the age of 5. And progress in lowering child mortality rates lags behind among disadvantaged and marginalized people, around the world. Under-nutrition is a factor in one third of all under-5 child deaths.

“It’s important that, in all countries, we continue to target the most vulnerable populations. This isn’t just in delivering health services; it’s also focusing on the major determinants of health outcomes, such as the mother’s education, good communications, good infrastructure and good governance.” UNICEF official, Mr. Pett says.

According to the report, if disease and under-nutrition are to be tackled successfully, broader issues such as water supply, sanitation and hygiene and education will also have to be addressed.

The report provides further impetus for a renewed global movement to end preventable child deaths. In June of this year, the major conference Child Survival, A Call to Action called for governments and partners to sign A Promise Renewed, a pledge to work toward greater child survival.

A Promise Renewed is part of the United Nations Every Woman Every Child movement launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Already, 114 nations – more than half the countries in the world – have signed the pledge, along with 174 civil society organizations and more than 250 leaders from faith-based groups.

Mr. Pett is encouraged by what he calls “enormous political buy-in”. “There’s still a long, long way to go,” he says. “Our ambition is to see no country having an under-5 mortality rate of greater than 20 per 1,000 live births anywhere in the world, and we’re halfway there.”

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake says, “The global decline in under-5 mortality is a significant success that is a testament to the work and dedication of many, including governments, donors, agencies and families. But there is also unfinished business: Millions of children under 5 are still dying each year from largely preventable causes for which there are proven, affordable interventions.”

He stresses, “These lives could be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care. The world has the technology and know-how to do so. The challenge is to make these available to every child.”

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