Latest child mortality estimates show huge progress in some regions but overall world is not on track to meet MDG4

September 16, 2010

As part of The Lancet's Millennium Development Goals special issue, UNICEF is publishing the latest (2009) UN estimates of child mortality, which tell of great progress in many regions of the world. Unfortunately, the planet as a whole is not on target to meet MDG4, of reducing mortality in children aged under 5 years by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.

Highlights from the estimates:Continued progress and acceleration of declining child mortality will require more investment and innovation, especially in the three regions that are not currently on track to achieve MDG 4: sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia, and Oceania.
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Media enquiries for UNICEF to Christopher de Bono, UNICEF Chief of Media, UNICEF HQ New York. T) 1-212 303 7984 / (cell) 1-646 209 1590. E) cdebono@unicef.org

For full Comment, see: http://press.thelancet.com/childmort.pdf

Note to editors: Generating accurate estimates of under-5 mortality poses a considerable challenge because of the limited data available for many developing countries. In response, experts at UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, the UN Population Division (UNPD), and members of the academic community formed the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME).

To meet MDG4, the required reduction is two thirds between 1990-2015, which translates to an Average Annual Rate of Reduction (AARR) of 4.4%. Countries with mortality rates of 40 or higher are on-track if their AARR is equal to or greater than 4.0%. The reason the threshold is set at 4.0% rather 4.4% is to allow for the margins of uncertainty around the estimates. All countries with mortality lower than 40 per 1,000 live births are also considered to be on track.

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