Wide variations in progress
Reduction in under-five mortality varies between regions. While the rate of children dying before five fell by over a third in Latin America and the Caribbean between 1990 and 2002, in sub-Saharan Africa, where almost half of under-five deaths occurred, there has been only slight progress in reducing the rate.
The disturbing truth is that 1 out of every 6 children born in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of five, compared to 1 out of every 29 children in Latin America and the Caribbean and 1 out of every 143 children in industrialized countries.
Although steady progress has been made in CEE/CIS, South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific since the early 1990s, it has been at an average annual reduction rate that would fall short of ensuring MDG 4 is met. UNICEF estimates that, at present rates, under-five mortality will be reduced by approximately 23 per cent globally over the 1990-2015 period – well below the goal of a two-thirds reduction.
With developed countries accounting for 37 of the 90 countries that are on target, efforts to reduce under-five mortality in developing countries will need to intensify if the 2015 global target is to be achieved. The global AARR will have to reach 7.5 per cent (up from the original AARR of 4.4 per cent implied by the 25-year target), and stay at that pace in the 2002-2015 period.