UN misses goal for reducing infant mortality
A UN-set goal for slashing the global infant mortality rate over 25 years has reached its deadline, but the world body has missed its target by a wide margin.
Among the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) enshrined in its Millennium Project, the world body had set a target of cutting the infant fatality rate in the world from 91 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to one-third by 2015.
A review published in The Lancet medical journal, however, said on Wednesday that the mortality rate had only fallen to 43 per 1,000 and noted that only 62 of 195 countries had met targets they adopted 25 years ago.
Accordingly, the death toll of newborns, infants, and small children — mainly from preventable causes — shrank from 12.7 million in 1990 to an estimated 5.9 million this year.
Geeta Rao Gupta, the deputy executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said, “The far too large number of children still dying from preventable causes before their fifth birthday… should impel us to redouble our efforts to do what we know needs to be done.”
She, however, said, “”We have to acknowledge tremendous global progress.”
The study, which was led by Danzhen You of UNICEF, is the first of is kind to include estimates for 2015, and also makes projections for child mortality in the coming 15 years.
According to the report, the UN’s new target is 25 or fewer under-five deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
“The unfinished business of child survival looms large,” wrote the study authors, adding, “Every child’s death represents the loss of a unique human being.”