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Progressive Decline in Child, Maternal Mortality Since 1990

But most developing countries will not achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015

TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although many countries are progressing in reducing maternal and child mortality, only a small number of developing countries will achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 or 5 by 2015, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet.

Rafael Lozano, M.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues updated estimates of maternal and child mortality to track the progress of MDGs 4 and 5 using additional surveys, censuses, vital registration, and verbal autopsy data. Under-5 mortality was estimated using an improved model and was categorized into early-neonatal (0 to 6 days), late-neonatal (7 to 28 days), postneonatal (29 to 365 days), and childhood (ages 1 to 4 years) mortality. More than 1,000 additional site-years of data and an ensemble model were used to generate new estimates for maternal mortality from 1990 to 2011.

The investigators identified a continuous decline in deaths of under-5-year-olds, reaching 7.2 million in 2011, of which 2.2, 0.7, 2.1, and 2.2 million deaths occurred during early-neonatal, late-neonatal, postneonatal, and childhood, respectively. An accelerated decline in child mortality was observed from 1990-2000 to 2000-2011 in 106 countries. A decline in maternal mortality, from 409,100 deaths in 1990 to 273,500 in 2011 was observed, with an estimated 56,100 of the deaths in 2011 attributed to HIV-related deaths during pregnancy. Recent trends predict that 31, 13, and nine developing countries will achieve MDG 4, 5, and both, respectively.

"Even though progress on reducing maternal and child mortality in most countries is accelerating, most developing countries will take many years past 2015 to achieve the targets of the MDGs 4 and 5," the authors write.

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