Unfulfilled 3rd Millennium Development Goals (5)
Today we speak of the fourth goal of the UN plan, which is the reduction of rate of mortality among children.
Children’s mortality rate is a benchmark and criterion which shows the rate of mortality among children who are under five years old. This index shows that for every thousand children which are born, how many die prior to the age of five. Mortality of children is one of the most serious challenges which the international community is grappling with. The reason behind selection of this benchmark as a criterion of development is the impact that social and economic factors leave on a fall or rise in children mortality rate. The fact of the matter is that mortality rate among children is impacted by the states of literacy of families, the rural roads network, access to medical emergencies, cost of health services, presence of telecommunication networks, and families’ incomes.
Children’s mortality rate is usually studied in three phases which are prior to the age of 5; prior to the age of 1; and prior to the 28th day after the delivery of the newborn infant. 43% of the mortality cases among the newborns are due to suffocation, infections, and complications emerging after the infant’s birth. From the 28th day after birth till the age of 5; the majority of mortalities are caused due to contagious ailments, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and AIDS. While the majority of deaths among children under the age of five in different parts of the world, especially low-income countries, are due to contagious illnesses; the root cause of mortality among children in rich countries is non-contagious diseases such as genetic abnormalities, premature birth, and suffocation.
Based on estimations, the rate of mortality among children at the age of five and under the age of five has dropped by more than 50% in the past twenty five years. Although this is a significant progress, the set goals for the third millennium have not been fulfilled. In fact, countries had agreed to lower the rate of mortality among children by two thirds from the year 2000 to 2015. Currently, every day, roughly 16,000 children under the age of five die in the world as the result of preventable or curable illnesses. A senior UNICEF official points out that although significant progress has been made in the reduction of mortality rate among children, one should still admit that many children pass away as the result of preventable ailments prior to the age of five, across the world. Hence, we should redouble our efforts to lower this mortality rate.
In the view of experts, in order to swiftly and significantly reduce mortality rate among children, it is necessary to focus on more susceptible regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The fact of the matter is that 50% of the global mortality cases among the children under the age of five occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, while 30% of these mortalities take place in South Asia. One million infants die upon birth; while two million other infants die in the first week after their delivery in the globe. The root causes of these early deaths are namely complications in delivery, pneumonia, premature birth, diarrhea, and malaria. One of the other root causes of death among children is malnutrition. Malnutrition directly exposes children to ailments and delays the child’s physical and mental growth, surging the possibility of death. In accordance to latest figures, still 45% of mortality cases among children under the age of five across the globe are caused by malnutrition.
Insufficient weight at the time of birth is another problem that newborn infant face worldwide, which exposes infants to possible death. More than twenty million abnormally thin infants are born every year across the world; the majority of which belong to Africa and Southeast Asia.
The recent figures show that many countries have made resounding progress in lowering mortality among children. Nonetheless, the pace of this progress is yet to meet the standards set by the Third Millennium development goals. Although the rate of mortality among children has been more than halved in North Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and Latin American as of the year 2000 AD, the rate of mortality among children remains unacceptably high in many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Sierra Leon, in the year 2014, among every 1000 children, 185 died prior to the age of five.
UNICEF has warned that if the current rate of mortality among children under the age of five is prolonged worldwide, sixty-nine million children will lose their lives in the next fifteen years. Half of these infants are bound to die in the first five months of their lives.
Infectious ailments such as diarrhea and pneumonia are the main ailments which claim lives among children under the age of five in India. In the year 2015, roughly 15% of one to two million children who have lost their lives in India had pneumonia, while diarrhea was the second cause of death among these infants.
In this manner, in the year 2015, still eleven children lost their lives in every minute across the world mainly as the result of preventable diseases.
Undoubtedly, fulfillment of the Third Millennium Development goals demands further attention to the economic, social, and cultural infrastructures. Meanwhile, shortage of financial sources is one of the main reasons behind non-fulfillment of these goals in many developing countries. Meanwhile, based on the studies which have been carried out, if only seventeen European Union member states provide an average amount of less than half a million dollars per annum, it becomes possible to prevent major human catastrophes such as poverty, hunger, and illnesses, across the world.