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- One quarter of all the children in the world live in South Asia. In spite of lingering poverty, their survival prospects have improved considerably over the past three decades: in 1960, 1 in 4 children died by age five; by 1993, the number was 1 in 8.
- Life expectancy at birth rose from 39 to 60 years between 1950 and 1990, but women do not significantly outlive men, as they do in all other regions.
- The girls' net primary school enrolment ratio increased from 29 per cent in 1960 to 62 per cent in 1990. But the gender gap in education remains wide: a girl is 20 per cent less likely to attend primary school than a boy. Child labour is a major obstacle to education.
- By the early 1980s, 28 per cent of children were immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases; by the early 1990s, the immunization rate had almost tripled to 85 per cent. In Bangladesh, coverage soared from 1 to 74 per cent during the 1980s.
- Strong disparities persist. A child born in Sri Lanka can expect to live 72 years, one born in Bhutan 50 years.
- Malnutrition affects 60 per cent of children, by far the highest rate of any region.
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