6 Reduce child mortality

Where are we?

Despite the progress achieved in reducing child mortality, Iraq remains the second highest country when compared with countries in the region. Photo: UNDP

Under-five mortality rates have declined substantially in the Arab region over the past two decades: from 83 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 52 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008 - a 37 per cent reduction. However, overall, the Arab region is not on track for achieving the MDG target of an under-five mortality rate of 28 per 1,000 live births by 2015.

Furthermore, great inter- and intra-country disparities exist with regards to U5MR. Variations exist for both levels of under-five mortality and in the progress towards reducing it. Although Gulf States have ensured the achievement of MDG4 since the mid-nineties, LDCs exhibit very high under five mortality rates, consistently more than 100 per 1,000 live births. Seventy pre cent of the under-five mortality rates have been accounted for by the high mortality rate of children below age one.

Routine immunization coverage of 1-year-old children in the Arab region has increased from 77 per cent in 1990 to 82 per cent in 2008, a number significantly above the developing regions’ average of 73 per cent. The expansion of measles immunization services has been achieved in 15 countries and measles elimination is on track in 16 countries in the region. The Maghreb and the GCC countries, with the exception of Algeria (88 per cent), Iraq (69 per cent), OPT (53 per cent), and Syrian Arab Republic (81 per cent), are nearing universal measles immunization coverage.


Maternal Mortality Ratio: estimated trend and expected MDG goal

The figures are estimates taken from a maternal mortality study made by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and World Bank and each agency provided regional estimates based on its definition of the region.

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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