Preventable Child Deaths Not Always Linked to Poorest Countries: UNICEF
Millions of children still die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, according to the 2016 State of The World’s Children Report released here Tuesday by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The report, which is released annually, shows that a country’s income does not always determine progress in child mortality. Many poorer countries are outpacing their richer neighbours in reducing their mortality rates, and some rapidly growing economies – including India and Nigeria – have been in the slower lane for reducing child mortality.
The picture is unequal within rich countries too. The United States has a higher infant mortality rate than most high-income countries, and the odds of survival are closely linked to racial inequality: In 2013, infants born to African American parents were more than twice as likely to die as those born to white Americans.
By 2030, five countries will account for more than half of the global burden of under-five deaths: India (17 percent), Nigeria (15 percent), Pakistan (8 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7 percent) and Angola (5 percent).
Without increased international action in the next fifteen years, 69 million children under five will die from mostly preventable causes.
For approximately 1 million children in 2015, their first day of life was also their last.
In an analysis of 75 high-burden countries, only eight are expected to reach the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal and under-five survival which if achieved fully would save the lives of 38 million children worldwide.
However, with no progress, almost 950 million women will have been married as children by 2030, up from more than 700 million today. Child marriage will increasingly deny girls their childhood, limit opportunities for education and mean they will begin childbearing too early.
The lack of care, and the fact that girls are not physically mature enough to give birth, put both mothers and their babies at risk.
“When a girl is in school, those around her are more likely to see her as a child, rather than as a woman ready to be a wife and mother. And the experience of going to school is empowering for girls, enabling them to develop skills and knowledge, and to forge social networks that equip them to communicate and stand up for their interests.” Angelique Kidjo, Award-winning artist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador said.
Education enables women to delay and space births, secure access to maternal and child health care and seek treatment for children when they fall ill.
In low-income countries, children from the richest 10 percent of the population receive around 46 percent of the benefits from public spending on education.
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