by Savitha C Muppala on  September 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM General Health News
 Bangladesh's Efforts to Reduce Child Mortality Lauded
A new study has pointed out the effort taken by Bangladesh in reducing the rate of child mortality in both rich and poor families.

The lives of up to four million children could have been saved in the last decade had developing countries reduced infant mortality among the poor at the same rate as the rich, the report by the charity Save the Children said.

"Bangladesh has defied the odds," and avoided this "dangerous trend" with an average 5.3 percent annual fall in the child mortality rate between 1993 and 2007 and a closing of the gap between girls' and boys' chances of survival, the report, entitled "A Fair Chance at Life", found.

The impoverished South Asian country is on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015 -- a goal bigger countries such as India may not meet, the report said.

"Infant mortality has fallen in Bangladesh thanks to efforts at immunisation, diarrhoea treatment, family planning and of course gender empowerment," Anika Rabbani, Save the Children communication manager told AFP.

Unlike many developing countries, where reductions in child mortality are concentrated among children from better-off communities, Bangladesh reduced child mortality in a more "equitable way", the report said.

Microcredit schemes, improved female education, a declining fertility rate and expanding job opportunities for women have also contributed to a narrowing disparity between the sexes, the report found.

Rabbani said more needed to be done, however, as the number of under-five deaths in Bangladesh in 2008 was 183,000.

The report says an average global reduction in child mortality of 28 percent over the past decade masks an expansion of the child mortality gap between the richest and poorest families in many countries, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines.

The report, released two weeks before world leaders gather in New York to discuss all of the MDGs, aims to highlight weak progress on the goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds.

This goal, known as MDG4, is one of the most off-track of all the MDGs as global child mortality has only fallen by 28 percent since 1990 -- far short of the stated 67 percent target.

Source: AFP

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