From the UN Daily News:
An annual assessment report released today by the United Nations shows that while significant declines have been recorded by many countries in reducing maternal and child mortality, greater progress must be made to meet the global targets contained in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to the MDG Report 2010, launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, the number of deaths among children under the age of five has dropped from 12.6 million in 1990 to an estimated 8.8 million in 2008.
The greatest advances were made in Northern Africa, Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the countries of the Confederation of Independent States (CIS). But most striking is the progress that has been made in some of the world’s poorest countries. Bangladesh, Bolivia, Eritrea, Laos, Malawi, Mongolia and Nepal have all reduced their under-five mortality rates by 4.5 per cent annually or more.
“Despite these achievements, and the fact that most child deaths are preventable or treatable, many countries still have unacceptably high levels of child mortality and have made little or no progress in recent years,” stated the report. The highest rates of child mortality continue to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for half of the 8.8 million deaths in children under five worldwide in 2008.
The publication pointed out that child deaths are not falling quickly enough to reach Goal 4, namely a two-thirds reduction in childhood mortality rates between 1990 and 2015, and millions of children continue to die each year at a tragically young age.
First agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, the eight MDGs set worldwide objectives for reducing extreme poverty and hunger, improving health and education, empowering women and ensuring environmental sustainability by 2015.