An estimated 5 million children under the age of 5 died in 2021, the United Nations said, urging health care investment in underserved communities around the globe to avoid this “immense, intolerable and mostly preventable loss of life.”
Some 2.3 million deaths in 2021 occurred in the children’s first month, mostly due to being premature or from complications related to childbirth.
After a child’s first month, infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria become the biggest threats.
Most deaths, however, can be prevented with improved health care, vaccination and nutrition as well as water and sanitation programs, the report said.
With vaccination campaigns disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, immunization rates among children dropped by 2 million in 2021 compared to 2020, and by 6 million compared to 2019, an ominous sign for future child mortality. (AFP)