Isabela Oside, 45, washes hands of her daughter Faith, 3, who completed doses through the worlds first malaria vaccine. Malaria is one of the preventable diseases that contributes to worldwide child mortality. Photo Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

HealthSociety The World1. April 2024

Historic Moment: Child Mortality Reaches All-Time Low

Child mortality numbers have dipped below 5 million, with some countries reducing their numbers by more than 75%, following vaccination efforts, improved nutrition, and access to antibiotics.

“This is historic. This is very positive,” states Helga Fogstad, the director of health for the United Nations Children’s Fund. Community health workers “are key in ensuring that these children get to the right services at the right time, so it doesn’t become too late.”

In 2022, 4.9 million children lost their lives before reaching their 5th birthday – fewer than half the 2000’s number – primarily due to preventable and treatable conditions. The new report shows that countries like Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia, Rwanda, and Uzbekistan reduced child mortality by 75%. In Ethiopia, the number of kids dying before they reached the age of 5 went from 200 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990 to less than 47 deaths per 1,000 births in 2021. By gathering data on what works in each country, it is possible to know what needs to be done to increase progress. Community health workers – primarily women – go to their communities to teach people the importance of washing hands to halt infection, improving nutrition, and using bed nets to fend off malaria.


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