Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Causes of child mortality, by country, 2000-2010


In Afghanistan, Bahamas, Romania and Somalia in 2010, 25 percent or more of all deaths among children aged under 5 years in 2010 were due to pneumonia. In 44 countries, it caused less than 5% under-five deaths. Pneumonia killed 1.2 million under-five children worldwide in 2011.

India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China collectively accounted for half of the total number of under-five deaths globally. In India, around 1.7 million children died before reaching the age of 5 years in 2010, and more than half of them (52%) died in the first month of life. The major causes of deaths were pneumonia (24%), prematurity (20%) and diarrhoea (13%). In Nigeria, around
700 000 children died before their fifth birthday; 60 percent of these deaths were due to the following conditions: malaria (20%), pneumonia (17%), prematurity (12%) and diarrhoea (11%).

Malaria was a major killer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 60 percent of global malaria deaths in under-five children in 2010 occurred in just 5 countries: Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Côte d'Ivoire.


The world has achieved nearly a three-quarter reduction in measles deaths in children under the age of five: from 480 000 deaths in 2000 to 130 000 in 2011. In 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of under-five deaths that were due to measles went down from 10 percent or more in 2000 to 2 percent of less in 2010. India accounted for 44% of under-five deaths due to measles globally in 2010, more than in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa combined (40%).

In 2000, congenital abnormalities were the leading cause of under-five deaths in 57 countries. In 2010, it became the leading cause in 66 countries. Similarly, while in 2000 pneumonia was the leading cause of under-five deaths in 55 countries, it became the leading cause in 63 countries in 2010.

During the past decade, HIV/AIDS remained the leading cause of deaths among children aged under 5 years in Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland.

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