According to the UN, global child mortality has dropped dramatically to a record low in recent years, thanks to initiatives against diseases like measles and malaria in developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa still remains the worst region for child mortality, but things are improving.
The number of children dying around the world has fallen below 10 million a year for the first time since records began in 1960.
Figures released today by Unicef showed that global deaths of children fell to an estimated 9.7 million in 2005, down from nearly 13 million in 1990.
The most important advances, according to Unicef, included:
· vaccination drives cutting measles deaths by 60% since 1999
· women breastfeeding rather than using dirty water
· babies sleeping under mosquito nets
· babies getting vitamin A drops which reduce the risk of measles, diarrhoea and malaria
Of the 9.7 million children who die each year, 3.1 million are from south Asia, and 4.8 million are from sub-Saharan Africa. West and central Africa have the highest rates of child mortality, with more than 150 deaths per every 1,000 children under five, which compares to six per 1,000 in North America, western Europe and Japan.
Dr Salama estimated that the global community would need another £2.5bn in order to achieve the UN's millennium goal.