Record-low childhood mortality, but “precarious” progress: UN

According to a United Nations report released on Tuesday, the number of children who died before the age of five worldwide hit a historic low in 2022—for the first time, fewer than five million children perished.

The prediction states that 4.9 million children will die before turning five in 2022, which is a 51 percent fall from 2000 and a 62 percent drop from 1990. Nevertheless, the research cautions that this improvement is “precarious” and uneven.

“There is a lot of good news, and the major one is that we have come to a historic level of under-five mortality, which… reached under 5 million for the first time, so it is 4.9 million per year,” Director of health of UNICEF, told AFP.the UN organization for children, Helga Fogstad.

According to the report, prepared by UNICEF in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, progress was particularly notable in developing countries such as Malawi, Rwanda and Mongolia, where early childhood mortality has fallen by more than 75 percent since 2000.

“Behind these numbers lie the stories of midwives and skilled health personnel helping mothers safely deliver their newborns… vaccinating… children against deadly diseases, and (making) home visits to support families,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement.

But “this is a precarious achievement,” the report warned. “Progress is at risk of stagnation or reversal unless efforts are taken to neutralize the numerous threats to newborn and child health and survival.”

Researchers cited existing concerning trends, noting a slowdown in the global decline in fatalities among children under five, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.