10/17/2019, 17.00
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Some 15,000 children under the age of five die every day in the world

A study of 99 low- and middle-income countries reports that 123 million children died between 2000 and 2017. The main causes vary with age. Overall in 17 years child mortality dropped by half, from 10 to 5.4 million.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 15,000 children under the age of five die every day in the world, this according to a study published yesterday in the journal Nature.

The research, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine, was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The survey states that 123 million children aged between 0 and 5 years died betweeen 2000 to 2017 in the 99 low- and middle-income countries examined. That is more than 90 per cent of deaths worldwide for this age group.

Considering preliminary data for 2018 and the estimates for countries that are not included in the study (like China, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia), the number of deaths now stands at 130 million children dead before the age of five .

The main causes of these deaths vary with age. Premature birth was the biggest cause of deaths before age 1 year. For older children (2 to 4), malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections like  pneumonia are the main culprits.

Overall, mortality for children under the age of five fell by half from 2000 to 2017, from 10 to 5.4 million. However, the data show great variations. The risk of dying is 10 times greater in some countries, 40 times in certain regions.

In Asia, Sri Lanka has the lowest mortality rate for children under five. In 2017, IHME reseaerch found an average of 8.5 deaths per 1,000 births. Thailand is not far behind (8.7 ‰).

By contrast, the figure rises dramatically for Tajikistan (46.9 ‰), Afghanistan (54.1 ‰) and Laos (57.5 ‰), with a peak in Pakistan (58.2 ‰).

As for the number of deaths, the sad record belongs to India with 1,035,880 dead children, followed by Pakistan with 338,760, Indonesia with 109.446, Bangladesh with 107.874, Afghanistan with 87.093, and the Philippines with 66,088.

In 2017, the lowest number of deaths occurred in Mongolia (2,045), the only country to do better than Sri Lanka (2,453).

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