The child mortality and hunger rates declined significantly worldwide but the developing nations of Africa and South Asia continued to face the two scourges despite advancement in the health care sector and sharp improvement in global food production, the United Nations reports said on Tuesday.
The figures and trends were detailed in two annual reports prepared by a group of UN agencies. The reports were presented before the meetings of General Assembly where world leaders unite to discuss the United Nations’ list of aspirations, i.e. Millennium Development Goals, to meet the requirements of the world’s poorest countries.
The reports showed that one of those set goals of cutting the number of hungry people half by 2015 appeared within reach, but the another key goal of lowering child mortality rate by two-thirds looked years behind.
Child Mortality Rates
The child mortality report was jointly prepared by UNICEF, other UN agencies and the World Bank. According to the report, the mortality rate for children among the most vulnerable age group i.e. younger than five-year of age had declined by nearly half from 1990 to 2013.
The report also showed that nearly all the nations having highest mortality rates are in Africa. India and Nigeria, the two countries that are counted among the most populous worldwide, contribute to nearly one-third of all deaths among children in the vulnerable group.
According to the report, the global mortality rate fell from 90 per 1,000 births in 1990 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.
Concluding the report, Dr. Mickey Chopra, the head of global health programs for Unicef, said, “There has been dramatic and accelerating progress in reducing mortality among children, and the data prove that success is possible even for poorly resourced countries.”
According to the researchers who prepared the reports, a staggering 223 million children across the world died before their fifth birthday from 1990 to 2013 despite the advancements in the health sector.
A shocking 6.3 million kids under the age of five died in 2013. In simpler terms, about 17,000 children died per day of the preventable causes including complications during pregnancy, labor and delivery, insufficient nutrition, diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria.
The hunger report was prepared jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development and World Food Program. According to the report, more than 800 million people across the world do not get enough food to eat.
The FAO says twice the amount of food is produced worldwide to fulfill the requirement of the population. But improper execution of the policies leads to high hunger rates. The hunger report called for “targeted policy interventions such as strengthening safety nets and other social protection.”
The report showed that the hunger rate dropped slowly over the last few decades. 11.3 percent of the world’s population was found clinically undernourished during 2012-14. It was 18.7 percent in the 1990-92 period. Despite the decline, the hunger problem continues to haunt a handful of countries.
Countries like the Central African Republic, Chad and Ethiopia have the highest rates of people who are undernourished. Moreover, a relatively high percentage of the people remain hungry across South Asian countries.
In Iraq, the share of hungry population has increased to nearly one in four Iraqis found undernourished.