As per the World Health Organisation's latest data, in 2021, five million children died before they celebrated their 5th birthday. 2.1 million older children and young people lost their lives. This meant that one child or youth died every 4.4 seconds due to the lack of access to quality healthcare.
United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) in its report released on Tuesday found that 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same period. These deaths could have been prevented had there been adequate health facilities available around them.
Overall positive news since 2000 but..
Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF Director of the Division of Data Analytics, Planning and Monitoring says, “Every day, far too many parents are facing the trauma of losing their children, sometimes even before their first breath. Such widespread, preventable tragedy should never be accepted as inevitable. Progress is possible with stronger political will and targeted investment in equitable access to primary health care for every woman and child.”
On a brighter side, the UN reports show some positive outcomes with a lower risk of death across all ages globally since the year 2000. The global under-5 mortality rate fell by 50% since the start of the century, while mortality rates in older children and youth dropped by 36%, and the stillbirth rate decreased by 35%. This development can be attributed to more investments in strengthening primary health systems to benefit children, women, and young people.
However, the positive trends have reduced significantly since 2010, and it is projected that 54 countries will fall short of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals target for under-5 mortality. If timely action is not taken to improve healthcare facilities, warn the agencies, almost 59 million children and youth will die before 2030, and nearly 16 million babies will be lost to stillbirth.
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