Intended for healthcare professionals


Global child mortality falls to historic low

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 17 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1077
  1. Grace Irimu, professor1,
  2. Piyush Gupta, professor2,
  3. Mike English, professor3 4
  1. 1Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
  2. 2University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  3. 3Health Systems Collaborative, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  4. 4Health Services Unit, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Nairobi, Kenya
  1. Correspondence to: G Irimu grace.irimu{at}

Target to end preventable deaths among under 5s is within reach, UN data show

The 2023 report of the United Nations Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation shows a remarkable 51% fall in global mortality for children aged under 5 years between 2000 and 2022, from 76 deaths/1000 live births to 37/1000.1 This is a historic low: millions more children are surviving as low and middle income countries advance towards reducing under 5 mortality to ≤25 deaths/1000 live births by 2030, one of the targets set out in the UN sustainable development goal on good health and wellbeing.2

The fall is encouraging, but 4.9 million children under 5 years still died in 2022.1 Although 134 out of 200 countries achieved the under 5 mortality target, the rest, most in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, are still struggling. Prevention and treatment of leading causes of deaths in children under 5, including infectious diseases (pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria), prematurity, and birth asphyxia or trauma remain inadequate in many countries.1 Further, glaring inequity in child survival rates was observed across regions and countries.

Resource constraints and poverty

These inequalities underscore an urgent need to rethink implementation of evidence based interventions to mitigate threats to child survival. Lessons from the …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription