6 million children under the age of 5 years died in 2016. This translates into 15 000 under-five deaths per day. More than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions. Leading causes of death in children under-5 years are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, child development 13 and malaria.
Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in high income countries. Improving the quality of antenatal care, care at the time of childbirth, and postnatal care for mothers and their newborns are all essential to prevent these deaths. 6 million children died in the first month of life in 2016. From the end of the neonatal period and through the first 5 years of life, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.
Malnutrition is the underlying contributing factor, making children more vulnerable to severe diseases. The world has made substantial progress in child survival since 1990. The global under-5 mortality rate has dropped by 56 per cent from 93 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 41 in 2016. Meeting the SDG target would reduce the number of under-5 deaths by 10 million between 2017 and 2030.
6 million babies die every year in their first month of life and a similar number are stillborn. The 48 hours immediately following birth is the most crucial period for newborn survival. Globally, the number of neonatal deaths declined from 5. 1 million in 1990 to 2. The relative decline in the neonatal mortality rate was slower in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to birth, a mother can increase her child’s chance of survival and good health by attending antenatal care consultations, being immunized against tetanus, and avoiding smoking and use of alcohol. At the time of birth, a baby’s chance of survival increases significantly with delivery in a health facility in the presence of a skilled birth attendant.
Identifying and caring for illnesses in a newborn is very important, as a baby can become very ill and die quickly if an illness is not recognized and treated appropriately. Sick babies must be taken immediately to a trained health care provider. The total number of under-5 deaths worldwide has declined from 12. 6 million in 1990 to 5. 15 000 every day compared with 35 000 in 1990.