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UN Report: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality

Why is it in the news?

  • Global child deaths reached a historic low in 2022, with under-five deaths declining by over half since 2000, as per the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

More about the news

  • Global under-five deaths in 2022 declined by over half from the 2000 estimate, dropping from 9.9 million to 4.9 million.
  • Despite this improvement, concerning frequencies persist:

1) Neonatal deaths occur every 14 seconds.

2) A child under five dies every six seconds.

3) An adolescent (ages 10 to 19) dies every 35 seconds in 2022.

Top of Form

Major Highlights of the Report

  • Decline in Child Deaths: It noted a 62% decline in child deaths from 1990 estimates. However, it warns of persistent inequities among vulnerable populations despite overall progress.
  • Neonatal Deaths: Trend of under-five deaths in the neonatal period increased from 41% (2000) to 47% (2022). Further, the slower decline attributed to factors like population change and cause-of-death structure differences by age. Also, the Neonatal mortality relates more to birth complications than basic public health interventions.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Burden: The annual neonatal deaths stagnated at about 1 million. However, the mortality rate for children aged 28 days is more than two times higher than the global average, at 46 deaths per 1,000 children. Further, the Sub-Saharan Africa bears the greatest burden of under-five deaths globally.
  • Leading Causes: Prematurity, pneumonia, trauma, malaria, and diarrhoea are leading causes of newborn and child deaths. They are preventable with measures like vaccinations, skilled health personnel, and breastfeeding support.
  • Survival Factors: Child survival depends on factors such as place of birth, income level, and within-country inequities. The rural children at higher risk of death before age 5 compared to urban counterparts.
  • Predictions: It estimates that 35 million children under 5 will die before 2030, with sub-Saharan Africa bearing most of the toll. Also, it warns of potential misses in SDG targets for under-five and neonatal mortality in numerous countries.

Child Mortality in India: Status and Trends

  • The Sample Registration System (SRS) Statistical Report 2020, released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), indicates a consistent decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR), and Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) since 2014, aligning with efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets by 2030.

Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR):

  • It shows a significant decline of 3 points from 2019, with U5MR dropping to 32 per 1000 live births in 2020 from 35 per 1000 live births.
  • Variation observed across rural and urban areas, with U5MR being higher in rural areas (36) compared to urban areas (21).
  • U5MR for females (33) is slightly higher than for males (31).

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR):

  • IMR shows a 2-point decline to 28 per 1000 live births in 2020 from 30 per 1000 live births in 2019.
  • Annual decline rate recorded at 6.7%, indicating steady progress in reducing infant mortality.
  • Rural-urban difference in IMR has narrowed to 12 points, with urban IMR at 19 and rural IMR at 31.

Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR):

  • Declined by 2 points from 22 per 1000 live births in 2019 to 20 per 1000 live births in 2020.
  • Annual decline rate of NMR recorded at 9.1%, suggesting a faster pace of improvement compared to other mortality rates.
  • NMR ranges from 12 in urban areas to 23 in rural areas, highlighting disparities in neonatal healthcare access and outcomes between rural and urban regions.

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