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Saving the children

How child mortality has changed since 1990

SOME 7.7m children under the age of five will die in 2010, down from 11.9m in 1990, according to a new study published online by the Lancet from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. This is 800,000 fewer deaths than was estimated by UNICEF in 2009, a difference the authors attribute to a larger data collection and better statistical analysis. Most sub-Saharan African countries have made slow progress, but there is evidence of accelerating declines from 2000 to 2010 compared with 1990 to 2000. The Maldives, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal have made the biggest steps in reducing child mortality, with the rate of decline in each averaging over 7% a year. At 2.98 deaths for every 1,000 infants, the UAE now has the sixth-lowest mortality rate in the world. Britain and America are among the worst performing rich nations, ranking 22nd and 44th out of 187 countries.

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