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Infant mortality rates halved

UNICEF offers praise but says there is still work to do

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • September 13, 2012
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The mortality rate for children under five has halved since 1990, according to UNICEF, which lauded the country during the release today of a report on child mortality.

In 1990, the Philippines had an under-five mortality rate of 59 deaths for every 1,000 children born. In 2010, the rate was just 29.

The number of children under the age of five dying globally fell from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011, UNICEF reported in Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed. There were major reductions in under-five mortality rates in all regions of the world.

But while there is a global decline in under-five mortality, “there is also unfinished business,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director.

Millions of children under five are still dying each year from largely preventable causes, he said in a statement from New York.

"These lives could be saved with vaccines, adequate nutrition and basic medical and maternal care," Lake said. "The challenge is to make these available to every child.”

In the Philippines, which ranked 80 out of the 194 countries studied, the highest recorded rates of under-five deaths come from the poorest and most remote areas, including confict-stricken Mindanao.

Tomoo Hozumi, a UNICEF representative in Manila, said that while the Philippines has been making progress in reducing child mortality, there is still a high rate of deaths among babies.

"We now need to focus our energies on the neonatal period, as this is when 45 percent of the under five deaths occur," he said.
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