Child mortality is a core indicator for child health and well-being. Child survival remains an urgent concern. It is unacceptable that about 16,000 children still die every single day – equivalent to 11 deaths occurring every minute. The majority of these deaths can be attributed to treatable causes.
Infectious diseases (such as pneumonia and diarrhoea) and neonatal complications are responsible for the vast majority of under-five deaths globally. According to the latest estimates by WHO and the Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation Group, of the 5.9 million deaths in children under five that occurred in 2015, about half were caused by infectious diseases and conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, meningitis, tetanus, HIV and measles.
The main killers of children under age five in 2015 included preterm birth complications (18%), pneumonia (16%), intrapartum-related complications (12%), diarrhoea (9%) and sepsis/ meningitis (9%). Importantly, almost half of all under-five deaths are attributable to undernutrition, while more than 80 percent of neonatal deaths occur among newborn infants of low birth weight in the highest burden settings.