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.