4. Reduce child mortality rates


4.A) Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.


Goal 4


According to the most recent statistics, the overall mortality rate of children under the age of five has declined significantly, from 89 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 60 in 2009. There has also a been steady reduction, worldwide, in the number of children dying from treatable and preventable diseases, down from 12.4 million to 8.1 million.

Since 2000, further encouraging trends and accelerated progress has also been recorded by the UN, with the average annual rate of child mortality declining by 2.3% between 2000 and 2008, compared to the 1.4% decline registered in 1990.

The greatest progress concerning the 4th MDG "Reduce child mortality rates" has been made in North Africa, East Asia, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union). Importantly, as noted by the 2010 United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report, improvements have also been made in some of the poorest countries in the world, which have witnessed a reduction in mortality rates of around 4.5% per year (with these countries including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Eritrea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malawi, Mongolia and Nepal).

Despite the 22% decline in under-five mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa since 1990, this rate of reduction is not sufficient to ensure that the goal will be met on time.

Moreover, high levels of fertility combined with persistently high under-five mortality rates have actually resulted in an increase in the absolute numbers of deaths among children, from 4 million in 1990 to 4.4 million in 2008. In 2008, therefore, half of the total 8.8 million deaths recorded among children worldwide occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.



United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, New York, 2010
UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund