Nigeria Overtakes India As World Capital For Under-Five Deaths
The global bank had in 2018 said that Nigeria will take over India as the world capital for deaths of children under the age of five by 2021.
According to World Bank figures, India recorded an estimated 989,000 under-five deaths in 2017, while Nigeria recorded 714,000 deaths in the same year.
However, 2020 mortality estimates released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have shown that Nigeria recorded an estimated average of 858,000 under-five deaths in 2019 as against India which ranked second with 824,000 deaths out of 5.2 million under-five deaths globally.
The report, which covered a period of three decades–1990 to 2019–added that 49 percent of all under-five deaths in 2019 occurred in just five countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.
It expressed that Nigeria and India alone account for almost a third.
The report revealed that under-five mortality rates have declined by almost 60 percent since 1990.
However, the UN expressed concerns that;
The potential of a mortality crisis in 2020 threatens years of remarkable improvement in child and adolescent survival.
While the extent and severity of the mortality impact of COVID-19 on children and youth is still unknown, the potential of a mortality crisis in 2020 threatens years of remarkable improvement in child and adolescent survival from 1990 to 2019, the period covered in this report.
It reads further;
The global under-five mortality rate declined by almost 60 per cent from 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 38 deaths in 2019. Meanwhile, mortality among adolescents aged 10–19 fell from 13 deaths per 1,000 adolescents aged 10 in 1990 to 8 deaths in 2019—a 39 per cent decrease.
Even with that progress, some 5.2 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 2019 alone. Tragically, many of those children died of preventable or treatable conditions.
The report further said that while child deaths were uneven across regions, the situation is worse in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia.
It added that while the pandemic had limited direct impact on child mortality, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services due to resource constraints and a general uneasiness with using health services due to a fear of contracting COVID-19.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Director, said;
The global community has come too far towards eliminating preventable child deaths to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to stop us in our tracks.
If the child survival targets are to be met on time, resources and policy must be geared toward not only sustaining current rates of decline but also accelerating progress, which would save millions of lives. If the trends from 2010 to 2019 continue, 53 countries will not meet the SDG target on under-five mortality on time—if all countries were to meet that target, 11 million under-five deaths would be averted from 2020 to 2030.
Achieving the child survival goals and heading off a reversal of progress in child survival in 2020 will require universal access to n half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.