ISLAMABAD: The United Nations recently published report identified South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as the two worst regions in terms of child mortality in year 2021. The estimates shared by the report highlighted that around 5M children died before the age of five while another 2.1M young between 5 and 24 years died in 2021.
The report documented that children continue to face wildly differentiating chances of survival based on where they are born. Children born in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia shoulder the heaviest burden to survive.
Though sub-Saharan Africa had just 29pc of global live births, the region accounted for 56pc of all under-five deaths in 2021. Similarly, Southern Asia accounts for 26pc of the total deaths.
Children born in sub-Saharan Africa are 15 times more prone to the risk of childhood death which is in the world compared to the children in Europe and Northern America who lay on the lowest end of the spectrum.
The report added many of these deaths could have been prevented with equitable access and high-quality maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health care.
The report, jointly prepared by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME), said the global community failed to uphold its promise to its youngest and most vulnerable members in 2021.
“Behind these numbers are millions of children and families who are denied their basic right to health,” said Juan Pablo Uribe, Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population, World Bank and Director of the Global Financing Facility.
The global under-five mortality rate fell by 50pc since the start of the century, while mortality rates in older children and youth dropped by 36pc and the stillbirth rate decreased by 35pc.
This can be attributed to more investments in strengthening primary health systems to benefit women, children and young people.
However, gains have reduced significantly since 2010 and 54 countries will fall short of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals target for under-five mortality, the report pointed out.
If swift action was not taken to improve health services, almost 59m children and youth will die before 2030, and nearly 16m babies will be lost to stillbirth, it said.
The report warned that if current trends continue, nearly 19m children, adolescents and youth aged 5–24 years will die between 2022 and 2030, with more than 70pc of those deaths projected to take place in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Nearly 3.8m of these deaths will occur among adolescents aged 10–19 years and a combined 71pc will occur in sub-Saharan Africa (9.4m or 50 pc) and Southern Asia (4m or 21pc).