An estimated 6.3 million children under the age of 15 years died in 2017 across the world, with one child dying after every five seconds.
Most of these deaths are of preventable causes and the majority of them, which have been estimated to be at 5.4 million tend to occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths.
A recent mortality estimates by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group disclosed that half of all deaths under five years of age took place in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 where 1 in 13 children died before their fifth birthday.
According to the report, most children under 5 die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhea, neonatal sepsis, and malaria.
By comparison, among children between 5 and 14 years of age, injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic. Within this age group, regional differences also exist, with the risk of dying for a child from sub-Saharan Africa 15 times higher than in Europe.
For children everywhere, the riskiest period of life is the first month. In 2017, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month. A baby born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than a baby born in a high-income country. And progress towards saving newborns has been slower than for other children under five years of age since 1990.
Even within countries, disparities persist. Under-five mortality rates among children in rural areas are, on average, 50 percent higher than among children in urban areas. In addition, those born to uneducated mothers are more than twice as likely to die before turning five than those born to mothers with a secondary or higher education.
Despite these challenges, fewer children are dying each year worldwide. The number of children dying under five has fallen dramatically from 12.6 million in 1990 to 5.4 million in 2017. The number of deaths in older children aged between 5 to 14 years dropped from 1.7 million to under a million in the same period.