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Changing Global Trends...

Added On : 1st November 2014

Changing Global Trends in Childhood Mortality

F. Bruder Stapleton, MD

A decrease in deaths from infectious diseases accounted for nearly half of the 3.6 million fewer annual childhood deaths in 2013 than in 2000.

To help project appropriate interventions for reducing childhood deaths worldwide, researchers analyzed vital registration databases and compared mortality in neonates and children younger than 5 years between 2000 and 2013.

An estimated 6.3 million children <5 years old died in 2013, compared with 9.9 million in 2000. Pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria accounted for nearly half of the 3.6 million fewer deaths. In 2013, 2.76 million neonates died, with the major causes being prematurity, intrapartum complications, and various infectious diseases. Leading causes of death varied by region: infection in sub-Saharan Africa and preterm birth complications in southern Asia. Mortality in children <5 years decreased from 77.4/1000 live births in 2000 to 45.6/1000 live births in 2013.

If deaths from infectious diseases continue to decline, neonates will account for a greater percentage of childhood deaths, and noninfectious conditions, such as cancer and injuries, will account for an increasing percentage of deaths in older children. If current trends continue, an estimated 4.4 million children <5 years will die in 2030.


Liu L et al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2000–13, with projections to inform post-2015 priorities: An updated systematic analysis.