Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis
Author(s)/Editor(s): Black RE, Cousens S, Johnson HL et al.
Publisher/Organizer: The Lancet
Publication date: 2010
Of the estimated 8·795 million deaths in children younger than 5 years worldwide in 2008, infectious diseases caused 68% (5·970 million), with the largest percentages due to pneumonia (18%, 1·575 million, uncertainty range [UR] 1·046 million—1·874 million), diarrhoea (15%, 1·336 million, 0·822 million—2·004 million), and malaria (8%, 0·732 million, 0·601 million—0·851 million). 41% (3·575 million) of deaths occurred in neonates, and the most important single causes were preterm birth complications (12%, 1·033 million, UR 0·717 million—1·216 million), birth asphyxia (9%, 0·814 million, 0·563 million—0·997 million), sepsis (6%, 0·521 million, 0·356 million—0·735 million), and pneumonia (4%, 0·386 million, 0·264 million—0·545 million). 49% (4·294 million) of child deaths occurred in five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China.
These country-specific estimates of the major causes of child deaths should help to focus national programmes and donor assistance. Achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4, to reduce child mortality by two-thirds, is only possible if the high numbers of deaths are addressed by maternal, newborn, and child health interventions.