Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Global childhood mortality – a major public health success
A Tweet from Bill Gates noting that in the past 5 decades, childhood mortality in absolute numbers of children dying has been reduced to one-third. The rate of childhood deaths having decreased from 143 per 1000 to 44 per thousand.
That is 12 Million children each year that are not dying that in the past would have died.
The key reasons
1. Vaccination against common infectious diseases
2. Poverty reduction
3. Women’s education (likely the major contributing factor resulting in about half of the childhood mortality).
The blog posting can be found at Vox May 20, 2014 . The incredible downward graph posted below.
With Canadian infant death rates around 4.8 and the US around 5.2 (with child death to age 5 reported as 6.6) per thousand, the global rates are still nine times higher and demonstrate considerable room for improvement. Rates in excess of 100 per 1000 persist in central Africa where the greatest opportunities exist.
The huge improvements are a real tribute to a global community, often led by public health advocates unwilling to accept disparities between neighbours.