Lifesaving interventions drive down child mortality rates: UNICEF

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An infant obtains essential nutrients from a ready-to-use therapeutic food, at a UNICEF-supported feeding centre in the Guéra region of Chad. [Photo: UNICEF]

Concerted global and national action over the past two decades has saved the lives of approximately 90 million children, according to a report released on Friday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The agency says effective and affordable treatments, as well as sustained political commitment, helped contribute to the drop in under-five deaths from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million last year.

However, UNICEF deputy chief Geeta Rao Gupta warns that without faster progress, the world will not achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of a two-thirds reduction in the child mortality rate until 2028.

"The global community has two years to avert this tragedy by fulfilling its promise to meet Millennium Goal 4 on time, by 2015. Yes, the challenge is significant to achieve MDG 4 by the end of 2015. An additional 3.5 million children's lives must be saved between now, 2013, and 2015. So we definitely need to accelerate progress urgently." (24")

The report shows that some of the strongest gains in child survival have been made in low-income countries.

For example, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal and Tanzania have reduced under-five death rates by two-thirds or more ahead of the MDG deadline.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″

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