India – Although India has failed to reduce child mortality –one of the targets set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – it has successfully reduced its under-five mortality rate by 62 percent. However, 6 million children still die every year in India, according to a recent UNICEF report.

“The under-five mortality rate in India dropped from 126 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 48 in 2015 – a 62 percent reduction. But India still has relatively high under-five mortality rate in the world,” said Dr. Danzhen You, author of the report. Currently, one child out of 21 died in India before his or her fifth birthday, while there are 7 times less deaths in high-income countries, where one out of 147 under-five children die.


These data represent the latest estimates for infant and neonatal mortality made by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation up to the year 2015. The report was globally released on Tuesday.

Regarding to the reasons why children die, pneumonia and diarrhoea are the two main diseases which caused the death of 1.2 million under-five children in India. However, these can be preventable or treatable with proven interventions.

The report also stated that the world has reduced its under-five mortality rate by 53 percent – from 91 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 43 in 2015 – having Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania as countries that all met the MDG target.

Nonetheless, 236 million children died before turning 5 years old in the last 2 decades. Other 69 million children will die before their fifth birthday until 2030 if proper measures are not taken into consideration. For instance, if Sub-Saharan Africa’s poverty persists as a whole, the deaths of children under five, in that region,  are projected to increase by almost 30 percent in the next 15 years.

The eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s targets for addressing extreme poverty, set after the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, and it was agreed to be reached by 2015 by all the 189 United Nations signatories and at least 23 other international organizations.

The Millenium Development Goals are:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Global Partnership for development


Source: UNICEF