Child Mortality

The information here is provided by courtesy of the Network's short online course - "An Introduction to Global Health". 







It is risky being a young child and the younger you are the more risky it is. Your level of risk, however, depends very much on where you live. 


Mortality rates for children under 5 have fallen in all regions of the world, but there remain considerable differences between the regions. The rate in some African countries remains particularly high. 





The map below shows the differences between the countries of the world. Sub-Saharan African countries stand out as having higher rates. 




The difference in rates between the UK and the Central African Republic, for example, is stark.





Although child mortality rates have fallen, the bar chart below that the death toll in the first 5 years of life compared to other age groups is very high compared to subsequent years. The same number are only reached again in old age. 





The early childhood is a particularly dangerous time and if you survive your first 5 years you stand a good chance living a reasonably long life. 




Causes of death


Mortality comes from a variety of causes under the age of 5 years, which can broadly be divided into those relating to the process of birth, infections and nutrition. 





The most risky period is the first month of life where the main causes of death are the process of being born and infections. 



Skilled Birth Attendants


The very high mortality in the first week of life shows the need for particular support and attention during and immediately after birth. WHO advocates help be given by a Skilled Birth Attendant who would help both to reduce maternal mortality and mortality of the newborn. 


Information about Skilled Birth Attendants can be found in the section on Maternal Mortality. 



More information


WHO – Levels and trends in childhood mortality


WHO : Children : Reducing Mortality


WHO – Every Newborn Action Plan


WHO – Ending preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea by 2025


WHO – Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition


For more about child mortality and its causes, go to the “Our World in Data” website.



Child Mortality image