6 Reduce child mortality

Where we are?

baby
Photo: UNICEF

The Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, and Tuvalu have achieved close or over to 50% reduction in the children under-five mortality rate since 1990. FSM, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu have failed to show an equally relevant improvement in the children under-five mortality rate. The developing country average for under-five mortality rate is 63 per 1000 live births, and the set global goal is 32 – whereas PNG displays an alarming figure of 75.

A similar picture emerges in the infant mortality rate; although only Niue and Tuvalu of the Pacific Island countries have achieved a two-thirds reduction in the infant mortality rate, and many of the PICs already have low rates in comparison with other developing countries. Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tonga have shown a negative trend in the rate improvement since 1990. For the small Pacific Island countries measuring the annual infant mortality rate and the children under-five mortality rate can give very wide fluctuations from year-to-year as a small number of deaths in a very small population can have a magnified effect when scaled-up; therefore, multiyear average rates provide a more useful indication of overall trends.

While almost all countries are making progress towards the achievement of Goal 4, access to basic maternal and child health services varies significantly between urban and rural areas in many countries. Data is also often weak in disaggregating between the better-served urban centres compared with the less-well-served rural districts and thus full analysis is not always possible. For the Polynesian and Micronesian countries, in particular, the increasing incidence of non-communicable “lifestyle” and diet-related diseases are becoming a serious health issue and may be diverting attention away from primary health care, thereby putting at risk the annual infant mortality rate and the children under-five mortality rate improvements that have been already achieved.

Source: 2012 MDGs Pacific Regional Tracking Report.

1.25 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG4
  1. Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five
    • Under-five mortality rate
    • Infant mortality rate
    • Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles