May 30, 2012 | Washington Post

Sixteen out of twenty African countries tracking nationwide living standards reported marked declines in under 5 mortality rates. Several of these countries are on a course to meet Millennium Development Goal 4, which calls for a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015 (from a 1990 baseline). As a lead up to the Child Survival: Call to Action being convened by the governments of the United States, India and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, on June 14-15, the Washington Post published an editorial commending nations of Africa for providing hope that a global drop in child mortality can be achieved.

A startling and welcome drop in child mortality
By the Washington Post Editorial Board

“THE BIGGEST, best story in development.” That is how Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, described swiftly declining child mortality rates across Africa in an interview with the Economist.

Of the 20 African countries that track nationwide living standards, 16 have recorded marked declines in the rate of deaths of children younger than 5, reported World Bank economists Karina Trommlerova and Gabriel Demombynes. Senegal, Rwanda and Kenya have reported drops of more than 8 percent a year, a rate that, if sustained, would cut child mortality in half within a decade. Nine more countries have seen decreases of more than 4.4 percent a year, which would meet the target established by the Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.

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