Some 6.9 million children died before the age of five last year, compared to 12 million such deaths in 1990. Almost 19,000 under-fives died daily in 2011.
Last year, half of global under-fives deaths occurred in just five countries, Unicef said - India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China.While some of the improvement was the indirect result of poverty reduction in developing countries, UNICEF argues that the biggest gains have been made in those countries receiving the most direct assistance. UNICEF clearly has a vested interest in that interpretation, but in fact it is consistent with the widespread transfer of death control knowledge and methods that has been taking place especially since the end of World War II.
Of course, the story does not talk about the unintended consequences of keeping more children alive when the birth rate is not dropping at a commensurate level.