6 Reduce child mortality

Where are we?

UN Mission Cote D'Ivoire
Photo: Hien Macline/UN
  • Over 1990–2011, Africa reduced its under-five mortality rate by 47 per cent.

Goal 4 aims to reduce mortality among children under age 5 by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Africa continues to steadily reduce its under-five mortality rate, from 146 deaths per 1,000 live births to 91 deaths between 1990 and 2011, or 2.2 per cent a year.

Despite considerable progress, Africa still suffers from the world’s highest under-five mortality rates, accounting for 1 in 9 child deaths before age 5. Some of the factors contributing to Africa’s inadequate achievement of the child health MDGs include weak health systems (physical and financial barriers to essential health services, shortage of medicine, poor human resources) and poor conditions as determinants of health (house-hold education, income, insufficient and inappropriate nutritional practices, poor sanitation facilities). To fast-track progress, integrated child health interventions focusing on infant morality, as well as holistic policies to address the underlying causes of child death, will be important.

 Under-five mortality rate by region, 1990-2011

Africa's progress in reducing its under-five mortality rate is the product of multiple factors, including focusing on high-impact interventions, strengthening health systems, investing more in health and related social determinants of health (such as nutrition), making gains in medical technology, and improving education, child protection and economic growth.

UNDP's work in Africa

  • UNDP in Eritrea

    Reducing maternal death in Eritrea
    UNDP Eritrea

    In the market town of Senafe, in southern Eritrea, Fethawi Berhane has just undergone three days of painful labor and complications during childbirth that resulted inmore

Targets for MDG4
  1. Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
    • Under-five mortality rate
    • Infant mortality rate
    • Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles