Child mortality rates still ‘high’ in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

London, Sept 12 : Child mortality rates are falling significantly in many regions, but remains high in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, according to UNICEF.

Its reports shows that more than 9 million children globally died before their fifth birthday in 2007.

Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia and the Pacific countries have cut deaths among under-fives by over 50 percent since 1990, according to the report.

However, over the same period, deaths in western and central Africa have fallen by just 18 percent; in sub-Saharan Africa the figure was 21 percent while in eastern and southern Africa it was 26 percent.

In Sierra Leone, the country with the worst under-five mortality rate in the world, 262 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday.

The rate for industrialised nations is just six deaths per 1,000 live births.

However, UNICEF has said that there are developing countries, such as Haiti, Eritrea and Turkmenistan, where major progress has been made.

It said that malnutrition, HIV and Aids have had a significant impact on child deaths.

The UNICEF report said that while interventions in some areas, such as immunisations or insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria, have been effective, there is a “disappointingly" low coverage of services to treat pneumonia and diarrhoea.

"Substantial progress has been made. But progress is still grossly insufficient, particularly in much of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia," BBC quoted the researchers, as stating in the Lancet.

The study is published in the Lancet. (ANI)

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