04/19/2005, 00.00
ASIA
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Almost 11 million children die of preventable diseases every year

About 28 per cent of all deaths are in Asia with India, China and Pakistan topping the list.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Every year almost 11 million children under the age of five die of preventable diseases because of lack of adequate medical care, this according to the recently released World Development Indicators, the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data about development.

Experts point to respiratory infection, diarrhoea, measles and malaria as the leading causes of death; malaria alone kills two million people every year.

In Asia, more than one infant in four (28 per cent) dies before reaching the age of five.

Six countries—China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Pakistan—account for more than half of all deaths.

Four million infants die in the first four weeks of life, 98 per cent of them in developing countries, 36 per cent in South-East Asia alone.

In Africa, a child dies every 30 seconds.

This explains why infant mortality is six and half times higher in the developing world than in the developed world.

In addition to infants and children, 529,000 mothers die, mostly from avoidable causes.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without borders) recently warned that some virulent strains of malaria have become resistant to the more commonly used drugs and has called on international organisations to switch to new and more effective drug therapies. (PB)

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