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Young child survival and development

© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1789/Pirozzi
A newborn lies in a hospital in the Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania.

In 1990, 1 in 6 children died before their fifth birthday in Eastern and Southern Africa; by 2012, this number had dropped to 1 in 13, a more than 50 per cent decline.

Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania have already reduced the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds or more.

Many low-income countries in the region (Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) have all achieved reductions, in absolute terms, of more than 100 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Despite these successes, ESA still has high rates of mortality. 

Out of the 20 countries with the highest under-five mortality in the world, five are in ESA: Angola, Burundi, Lesotho, Somalia and South Sudan. 

High levels of fertility have also led to a rather gradual decrease in the absolute number of child deaths, from 1.7 million in 1990 to 1.2 million in 2012.

More than 40 per cent of child deaths were caused by pneumonia (17 per cent), malaria (14 per cent), or diarrhea (10 per cent). Undernutrition is also a big killer, contributing to nearly half of all under-five deaths.



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