A child or young person died every 4.4 seconds in 2021, says UN

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About 5 million children died before their fifth birthday and others 2.1 million children and young people aged 5 to 24 lost their lives in 2021 according to the latest estimates released this Monday (9) by the United Nations Interagency Group for Estimating Infant Mortality.

In another report released on Monday, the group also reveals that 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same period . Health experts argue that many of these deaths could have been prevented with equitable access to high-quality maternal, newborn, adolescent and child health care.

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“Every day, many parents face the trauma of losing their child, sometimes before they even take their first breath,” said Vidhya Ganesh, director of the Data Analysis, Planning and Monitoring Division at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). ), in a press release.

“This widespread and preventable tragedy must never be accepted as inevitable. Progress is possible with stronger political will and targeted investment in equitable access to primary health care for all women and children.”

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Reports show some positive results with a lower risk of death at all ages globally since 2000. global under-five mortality rate has dropped by 50% since the beginning of the century , while mortality rates in older children and young people dropped by 36%, and the stillbirth rate declined by 35%. According to the documents, the improvement can be attributed to more investments in strengthening primary health systems to benefit women, children and youth.

However, the Earnings have declined significantly since 2010 , and 54 countries will miss the Sustainable Development Goal target for under-five mortality. If swift action is not taken to improve health services, agencies warn, almost 59 million children and young people will die before 2030 it’s almost 16 million babies are expected to be born still .

“It is extremely unfair that a child’s chances of survival can be shaped by their place of birth alone, and that there are such huge inequalities in their access to life-saving health services,” said Anshu Banerjee, director of Maternal Health, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Aging WHO.

“Children everywhere need strong primary health care systems that meet their needs and those of their families so that – no matter where they are born – they have the best start and hope for the future,” adds Banerjee.


Agencies say children continue to face wildly differing chances of survival based on where they were born, with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia bearing the heaviest burden, the reports show.

although the Sub-Saharan Africa has only 29% of live births in the world, the region accounted for 56% of all under-five deaths in 2021, and the South Asia by 26% of the total. The children born in Sub-Saharan Africa are subject to higher risk of infant death in the world – 15 times greater than the risk for children in Europe and North America.

Mothers in these two regions also experience stillbirth loss at an exceptional rate, with 77% of all stillbirths in 2021 occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Nearly half of all stillbirths were from sub-Saharan Africa. The risk of a woman having a stillborn baby in sub-Saharan Africa is seven times more likely than in Europe and North America.

“Behind these numbers are millions of children and families who are denied their basic rights to health,” said Juan Pablo Uribe, Global Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank and Director of the Global Financing Facility. “We need political will and leadership for sustained financing of primary health care, which is one of the best investments that countries and development partners can make,” he says.

Access to and availability of quality health care remains a matter of life and death for children around the world. Most child deaths occur in the first five years, half of which occur in the first month of life. For these babies, premature birth and complications during labor are the leading causes of death.

Likewise, more than 40% of problems associated with stillbirths during labor – most of which are preventable when women have access to quality care during pregnancy and childbirth. For children who survive beyond the first 28 days, infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria pose the greatest threat.

While Covid-19 has not directly increased child mortality — with children facing a lower likelihood of dying from the disease than adults — the pandemic may have increased future risks to their survival, the agencies say.

In particular, the reports highlight concerns about disruptions to immunization campaigns, nutrition services and access to primary health care, which can compromise your health and well-being for years to come. In addition, the pandemic has fueled the biggest continuous rollback in immunizations in three decades, putting the most vulnerable newborns and children at greater risk of dying from preventable diseases.

The reports also note data gaps, which can critically undermine the impact of policies and programs aimed at improving childhood survival and well-being.

“The new estimates highlight the remarkable global progress since 2000 in reducing under-5 mortality,” said John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

“Despite this success, more work is needed to address the persistent large differences in child survival across countries and regions, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Only by improving access to quality health care, especially around the time of childbirth, will we be able to reduce these inequalities and end preventable deaths of newborns and children around the world.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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