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Global Death Rate for Children Lower Than Thought
Date:5/24/2010

But progress in United States, Canada lagging behind other developed countries, study finds

MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) --The global death rate for children under the age of 5 appears to be significantly lower -- by as much as 800,000 fewer deaths -- than the latest mortality estimates released by UNICEF in 2008.

The fresh numbers gleaned from number-crunching conducted by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle also indicate that many poorer nations are demonstrating faster progress at stemming the tide of under-5 deaths.

The current figures raise some hope for achieving the objectives established by the "Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4)," which is aiming for a two-thirds drop in deaths among children under 5 from 1990 to 2015.

Prior statistical analyses suggested that fewer than a quarter of the world's nations were on track to meet this target. Yet despite some encouraging signs, the current review doesn't paint a much better picture overall, revealing that only 31 developing nations and a total of 54 countries out of 187 worldwide appear to be heading towards the MDG 4 finish line.

That observation comes from the IHME team's look at levels and trends for child deaths in 187 countries for the period 1970 through 2010. The authors relied on the participating country's censuses, surveys, birth records and registration systems for their data.

The researchers found that while 11.9 million children under 5 died across the world in 1990, that figure had dropped to an estimated 7.7 million in 2010.

One-third of such deaths occur in south Asia, they found, while one-half take place in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the three decades since 1970, there has been a 60 percent overall drop in worldwide child mortality rates, the team noted. In the same timeframe, infant deaths in the first 27 days after birth (ne
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