News Analysis

Increasing Cases Of Under Five Deaths

The 2020 mortality estimates by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has revealed that Nigeria has taken over from India as the world capital for under-five deaths.

In the report by UNICEF, Nigeria recorded an estimated average of eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand under-five deaths in 2019 as against India which ranked second with eight hundred and twenty-four thousand deaths out of over five million under-five deaths globally.

The report, which covered a period of three decades from 1990 to 2019, showed that forty-nine percent of all under-five deaths in 2019 occurred in just five countries namely Nigeria, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

The global under-five mortality rate declined by almost sixty per cent from ninety-three deaths per one thousand live births in 1990 to thirty-eight deaths in 2019.

Even with this improvement, some over five million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 2019 alone.

Unfortunately, many of these children died of preventable or treatable conditions such as malaria, Diarrhea, Malnutrition and sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS .

According to World Bank figures, India recorded an estimated nine hundred and eighty-nine thousand under-five deaths in 2017, while Nigeria recorded seven hundred and seventeen deaths in the same year.

While COVID-19 pandemic has limited direct impact on child mortality, countries of the world are experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services due to resource constraints and fear of contracting the disease.

According to the UNICEF director, Henrietta Fore the global community should not allow COVID-19 pandemic to stop the people from sustaining the trend of reduction in Neonatal deaths.

If all countries were to meet that target, eleven million under-five deaths would be averted from 2020 to 2030.

Also, if the child survival targets are to be met on time, resources and policy must be geared toward not only sustaining current rates of decline but accelerate the progress, which could save millions of lives.

Achieving the child survival goals will require universal access to effective, high-quality and affordable healthcare and safe provision of life-saving interventions for women, children, and young people.

 Fawzeeyah Kasheem


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