The number of child deaths in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has dropped to less than 1 million for the first time ever, according to estimates for 2011 recently released by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.
In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, under-5 mortality dropped by 41% between 1990 and 2011. The under-5 mortality rate is a leading indicator of the level of child health and overall development in countries, and one of the indicators for monitoring progress towards achievement of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4.
In six countries in the Region, the decrease is greater than MDG 4’s target of reducing by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-5 mortality rate. An additional five countries are on track to reach the target by 2015.
Despite this progress, under-5 mortality remains high in seven countries of the Region, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.
WHO is committed to improving the health of the most vulnerable groups in Member States, including mothers and children, and urges renewed political commitment and coordinated, intensified efforts of all key stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of key cost-effective interventions to further reduce deaths in children under 5.
WHO is part of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, which also includes UNICEF, the World Bank and United Nations Population Division. The UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation was established in 2004 to advance the work on monitoring progress towards achievement of MDG 4.