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Goal 4: Saving Children

Every year over 10 million children in developing countries die before the age of five.

Most die from causes that are readily preventable or curable with existing interventions—such as acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, measles, and malaria.
Rapid improvements prior to 1990 provided hope that mortality rates for infants and children under five could be cut by two-thirds in the ensuing 25 years, but progress slowed almost everywhere in the 1990s.

Progress on the child mortality MDG lags behind all other goals.

While the majority of countries have reduced child mortality since 1990, progress has been insufficient to reach the MDG target—which requires an annual decline of 4.3 percent over the entire period.

Only two regions, East Asia and Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, are close to achieving the MDG target. But even in those two regions, more than half the countries are off track.

Progress has been particularly slow in Sub-Saharan Africa, where civil disturbances and the HIV/AIDS epidemic have driven up rates of infant and child mortality.

As of 2005, no Sub-Saharan Africa country was on track to achieve the goal, and only 33 out of 147 (22 percent) of developing countries are making enough progress to achieve the goal on current trends.

 mortality figure 1
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The gap between goal and reality is greatest in
Sub-Saharan Africa, but millions of children are
also at risk in South Asia.

East Asia and Pacific and Latin America and the
Caribbean are nearly on track, but the regional
averages disguise wide variations between
More than half the countries in the Middle East and North Africa and Europe and Central Asia
regions are off track to reach the target.

TARGET 5: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.
Mortality Figure 2
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A concerted effort to improve the measurement of infant and child mortality has filled many gaps in the international data set and reveals that many countries still fall short of achieving the target, even where regional averages have been improving. Based on estimates through 2005, only 33 countries are on track to achieve a two-thirds reduction in the mortality rate. Every country in Sub-Saharan Africa is off track, and in some countries mortality rates have increased since 1990. Some recent surveys have found rapidly falling mortality rates.

Mortality figure 4
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The gap in under-five mortality between Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions is due mostly to higher child mortality (between ages 1–4), yet neonatal and post neonatal mortality are also highest in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

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