This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
UNICEF says the death rate for children under
the age of five has fallen twenty-eight percent since nineteen ninety. Experts
credit the drop to improvements in public health measures. These include
vaccination campaigns and the use of bed nets chemically treated to kill
mosquitoes that spread malaria.
Brian Hansford at the United Nations Children's Fund says more work remains.
BRIAN HANSFORD: "Certainly the good news is that
the rate of deaths of children under five years of age continued to decline in
two thousand eight. The absolute number of child deaths declined to an
estimated eight-point-eight million from twelve-point-five million in nineteen
ninety. Compared to nineteen ninety, ten thousand fewer children are dying each
day. The bad news is that an annual death total of eight-point-eight million is
still a tragedy, and so there's still much to do."
of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals is to reduce the under-five death rate
by two-thirds by two thousand fifteen. One country that could reach this goal
is Malawi. In nineteen ninety, there were two hundred twenty-five deaths for
every one thousand live births. The estimate for last year was one hundred deaths.
UNICEF spokesman Brian
Hansford says pneumonia and diarrhea remain the world's two greatest killers of
young children. Ninety-three percent of the deaths happen in Africa and Asia.
A separate new study looked at
deaths worldwide in young people age ten to twenty-four. It found that ninety-seven
percent happen in low and middle income countries. And two out of every five
are the result of injuries and violence.
Professor George Patton at Royal Children's Hospital in
Melbourne, Australia, was the lead author.
GEORGE PATTON: "In high income countries such as
the United States, the U.K. and Australia, death rates are around forty-five
per hundred thousand per year. In sub-Saharan Africa we have the highest death
rates in the world, and they are around seven times higher than that."
study found that worldwide, more than two and a half million people age ten to
twenty-four died in two thousand four. Nearly two-thirds were in sub-Saharan
Africa and Southeast Asia.
related to pregnancy and childbirth were a leading cause of deaths in females.
But for both sexes combined, the leading killer in this age group was traffic
accidents. Ten percent of all the deaths were blamed on road injuries.
Next came suicide and violence. Also in
the top ten causes were infections, including tuberculosis and H.I.V./AIDS, as
well as drowning and fire-related deaths. The study appears in the journal The
And that's the VOA Special English
Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.