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Pneumonia and preterm birth complications are the leading causes of childhood death
Date:5/11/2012

Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under 5, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They examined the distribution of child deaths globally by cause in 2010 and found that 64 percent were attributable to infectious causes and 40 percent occurred in neonates. The authors' findings, published in the May issue of the Lancet, suggest a decline in the total number of deaths between 2000 and 2010, however, they caution the decline is not sufficient enough to reach Millennium Development Goal number 4, which seeks to reduce child mortality by two-thirds in 2015.

"The numbers are staggering," said Robert Black, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and the Edgar Berman Professor and chair in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Of 7.6 million deaths globally in children younger than 5, 1.4 million or 18 percent were a result of pneumonia, 1.1 million or 14 percent were related to preterm birth complications and 0.8 million or 11 percent were a result of diarrhea. Despite tremendous efforts to identify relevant data, the causes of only 2.7 percent of deaths in children younger than 5 years were medically certified in 2010. National health systems, as well as registration and medical certification of deaths, need to be promoted and strengthened to enable better accountability for the survival of children."

Researchers updated the total number of deaths in children ages 0-27 days and 1-59 months and applied the deaths by cause to their corresponding country. To calculate the numbers, they used vital registration data for countries with an adequate vital registration system; applied a multinomial logistic regression model to vital registration data for low-mortality countries without adequate vital registration and used a similar multinomial logistic regression with verbal autopsy data for high-mortality countries. To generate regional and global e
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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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