Child mortality rate falls

Halima Hassan holds her severely malnourished son Abdulrahman Abshir, 7 months, at the Banadir hospital on August 14, 2011 in Mogadishu, Somalia.</p>

Halima Hassan holds her severely malnourished son Abdulrahman Abshir, 7 months, at the Banadir hospital on August 14, 2011 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The number of children worldwide who die before they reach the age of 5 is shrinking, UNICEF and the World Health Organization said today.

More than 12 million children under the age of 5 died in 1990, compared to 7.6 million in 2010. That comes out to 12,000 fewer deaths per day. (Read the report.)

The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. Rates have fallen more sharply elsewhere.

The four major killers are pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, preterm birth complications and birth asphyxia.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, deaths fell from 623,000 in 1990 to 249,000 in 2010, a 60 percent decline.

The region is on track to meet the millennium development goal of a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015. Northern Africa and eastern, southeastern and western Asia are also all on track.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia, southern Asia and Oceania have made insufficient progress, the report said.

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