WHO Reveals 9.2 Million Children Under 5 Die Every Year from Preventable Diseases

According to the WHO, over a billion children are deprived of at least one of the essential goods or services needed for survival, ultimately leading to their premature death.


In the year 2000, the United Nations held a so-called Millennium Summit, introducing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs were eight international development goals that would receive special attention from the United Nations, from 2000-2015. As the 15-year period of the goals has expired, the MDGs have been turned to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Goal number four of the MDGs was to reduce child mortality rates. The target was to reduce child mortality by two-thirds, especially those under the age of five. These children mostly die from preventable diseases across the world.

Although the United Nations claims the MDGs have made headway around the world, the latest statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO) have showed a grim picture.

According to the WHO, over 9 million children under the age of five die every year from preventable diseases. The WHO revealed that the majority of deaths occur in developing countries. Around 70% of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions.


Due to better health facilities, availability of clean water, and hygiene among others in already developed countries, the lives of children are saved. But in developing countries, it is the opposite. Lack of what is available in the developed world ensures that children perish from otherwise preventable and treatable circumstances.

The statistics indicated that children in developing countries are ten times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed countries. They further revealed that over a billion children are deprived of at least one of the essential goods or services needed for survival, such as nutrition, water, sanitation, basic healthcare, shelter and education. Some starve to death, while others die from disease.

It is said most of these children are located in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and measles are said to be the diseases that mostly take the lives of these unfortunate children.


Poor families are often unable to obtain even the most basic health care for their children. Poor or delayed care-seeking contributes to up to 70% of all under-five child deaths, according to the WHO. 20% of the deaths occur in only 12 countries.

Of the 12 countries where more than 20% of children die before their fifth birthday, the WHO revealed nine of them have suffered a major armed conflict in recent times.

The WHO said countermeasures to stop this disturbing situation would include the provision of adequate healthcare facilities and clean water, as well as making available fundamental requirements that are vital to human survival.  Also, education campaigns, such as spreading knowledge of contraception use and maintaining clean environments, are all key steps toward preventing these early deaths.

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