Who's winning the battle against child mortality?

A mother holds her newborn baby in her hands in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In recent years, Bangladesh's infant mortality rate dropped significantly, although much remains to be done to curb child deaths. United Nations Photo / CC BY-NC-ND

For every 1,000 live births, Bangladesh saw 144 of its children die before the age of 5. That was in 1990. By 2012, the number was down to 41.

Such a trend is not unique to the Asian country. Around the globe, child mortality rates are dropping — though not as staggering as that of Bangladesh — thanks to investments and partnerships among governments, investors, aid groups and other stakeholders.

“The data show that tremendous progress has been made during the past few decades” in improving the well-being of children, including reducing under-5 mortality rates, according to UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2014 report released recently.

The report notes that some 90 million children would have lost their lives before their fifth birthday if mortality rates remained at their 1990 level.

That said, many countries are still not near the goal of reducing the number of under-5 deaths by two-thirds come 2015. A majority of them are located in Africa.

Take note of Niger, though. While it is one of the countries with the highest child mortality rates, it is also among the least-developed countries that have made the most gains in cutting down under-5 deaths.

Meeting Millennium Development Goal targets on child health by 2015 will require not only continued investments in systems change but it may also necessitate innovative new interventions. Here at Devex, we’ve highlighted several innovations meant to prevent child deaths, such as:

 Read our previous #innov8aid.

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.

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