UNICEF Report: enormous progress in child survival but greater focus on newborns urgently needed

Reprod Health. 2014 Dec 6;11:82. doi: 10.1186/1742-4755-11-82.


The world has made enormous progress in improving child survival since 1990, reducing the under-five mortality rate by nearly half from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. Currently, the global under-five mortality rate is falling faster than at any other time over the past two decades. Yet, progress is insufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) which calls for reducing the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. If current trends continue in all countries, the world will not meet the target until 2026, 11 years behind schedule. To accelerate progress in child survival, focusing on the newborn is critical since the share of all under-five deaths occurring in the neonatal period (the first 28 days of life) is increasing. Globally, 44 per cent of the 6.3 million under-five deaths occurred in the neonatal period in 2013. Many of these deaths are easily preventable with simple, cost-effective interventions administered before, during and immediately after birth. However, UNICEF's analysis reveals a remarkably high degree of variability in the utilization and quality of services provided to pregnant women and their babies. Furthermore, quality care is grossly lacking even for babies and mothers in contact with the health system. The latest levels and trends in child mortality as well as the coverage and quality of key maternal and newborn care from pregnancy through childbirth and the postnatal period are the subject of the new UNICEF report Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed Progress Report 2014 released recently in September.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Child Mortality / trends*
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • United Nations