Worldwide Child Mortality Rate Plummets; Most Deaths Preventable

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One of those, "God that's GREAT!/Boy that SUCKS!" stories. sigh.

Two thirds of all child deaths were caused by preventable infectious diseases, but the death rate of children younger than 5 sharply declined over the past 10 years, according to a report released Thursday.

Despite increased birth rates, the overall number of children who died before their fifth birthday decreased from about 9.6 million in 2000 to 7.6 million in 2010, mainly caused by decreasing pneumonia, measles, and diarrhea rates.

The United Nations has set a goal of reducing the under-5 mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015, from 100 deaths per 1,000 live births to 33 per 1,000 live births. In 2010, the world got closer to meeting that goal, cutting the death rate to 57 per 1,000 live births.

But it's not all good news—about two thirds of childhood deaths were caused by diseases that are generally considered preventable, such as pneumonia, complications from diarrhea (most fatal cases caused by rotaviruses), malaria, and meningitis. Death rates from tetanus, measles, AIDS, and malaria declined to levels that would meet the United Nations' standards, but relatively few children die from those diseases.

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