According to a different UN estimate, another 1.9 million newborns sadly died over the same time frame.
Washington, D.C., New York, and Geneva on January 10, 2023 – According to the most recent UN estimate made public by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, 2.1 million children and youth aged between 5 and 24 years and 5 million children and youth under the age of five died in 2021. (UN IGME).
The organization discovered that 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same time period in a separate report, which was also released today. Tragically, with equitable access to excellent maternity, neonatal, child, and adolescent health care, many of these fatalities may have been avoided.
The anguish of losing their children, sometimes even before they take their first breath, is experienced by far too many parents every day, according to Vidhya Ganesh, Director of the Division of Data Analytics, Planning, and Monitoring at UNICEF. Such a pervasive, avoidable catastrophe shouldn’t ever be thought of as inevitable. Stronger political will and focused investments in ensuring that every woman and child has fair access to primary healthcare are necessary for progress.
According to the reports, since 2000, the risk of death has decreased internationally across all age groups. Since the turn of the century, the mortality rate for children under the age of five has declined by 50% worldwide, that of older children and teens has decreased by 36%, and that of stillbirths has decreased by 35%. This can be ascribed to increased spending in improving primary healthcare systems for the benefit of young people, children, and women.
Gains have, however, dramatically decreased since 2010, and 54 nations will not reach the Sustainable Development Goals objective for under-5 mortality. The agencies warn that if quick action is not done to enhance health care, over 59 million kids and teenagers would die before 2030 and nearly 16 million newborns will be lost to stillbirth.
Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing at the World Health Organization, said, “It is grossly unjust that a child’s chances of survival can be shaped just by their place of birth, and that there are such vast inequities in their access to lifesaving health services” (WHO).
No matter where they are born, children need robust primary health care systems that fulfill their needs and those of their families in order to have the best start in life and the best chance for the future. According to the findings, sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia continue to bear the most burden when it comes to children’s odds of survival based on where they are born.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 56% of all under-five deaths in 2021, while southern Asia accounted for 26% of the total, while having only 29% of the world’s live births. The risk of childhood death is 15 times higher for children born in sub-Saharan Africa than it is for children in northern and western Europe.
In sub-Saharan Africa, stillbirths accounted for over half of all births. In sub-Saharan Africa, stillbirths are 7 times more likely to occur than they are in Europe and North America.
The World Bank’s Global Director for Health, Nutrition, and Population and the Director of the Global Financing Facility, Juan Pablo Uribe, stated that millions of children and families were being denied their fundamental rights to health behind these figures. The finest investment that nations and development partners can make is in primary healthcare, but we need political will and leadership to sustain that commitment.
For children everywhere, having access to and availability of high-quality medical care is still a matter of life or death. The majority of child fatalities happen in the first five years, and half of those happen within the first month of life. Premature birth and difficulties during labor are the main causes of death for these youngest babies. Similar to this, more than 40% of stillbirths happen during labor, and the majority of them can be avoided if women have access to high-quality care throughout their pregnancies and deliveries. Infectious disorders like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria represent the highest threat to children who live through their first 28 days.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have increased future dangers to children’s survival even while it hasn’t directly increased youth mortality because kids have a lower probability of dying from the illness than adults do. most kids. The papers specifically draw attention to worries about immunization campaigns, nutrition services, and access to primary healthcare being disrupted, which could endanger their health and wellbeing for many years to come. Additionally, the pandemic has sparked the most sustained decline in vaccination rates in thirty years, increasing the risk of preventable illness death among the youngest and most vulnerable infants and children.
The papers also point out data gaps that could seriously diminish the effectiveness of policies and programs intended to increase children’s survival and well-being.
According to John Wilmoth, Director of UN DESA Population Division, “the latest figures reflect the amazing global progress in reducing death among children under age 5 since 2000.
“Despite this progress, more has to be done to address the significant disparities in child survival that still exist among nations and regions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. We won’t be able to decrease these disparities and put an end to newborn and child fatalities that could have been prevented until we increase access to high-quality healthcare, particularly during childbirth.