The risk of death is highest in the first month of life, when safe childbirth and effective neonatal care are essential. Preterm birth, birth asphyxia and infections cause most child deaths.
From one month to five years of age, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and HIV. Malnutrition contributes to more than half of deaths.
- Pneumonia is the prime cause of death in children under five years of age. Nearly three-quarters of all cases occur in just 15 countries. Addressing the major risk factors ? including malnutrition and air pollution ? is essential to preventing pneumonia, as is vaccination. Antibiotics and oxygen are vital tools for effectively managing the illness.
- Diarrhoeal diseases are a leading cause of sickness and death among children in developing countries. Treatment with Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) combined with zinc supplements is safe, cost-effective, and saves lives.
- One African child dies every 30 seconds from malaria. Insecticide-treated nets prevent transmission and increase child survival.
- Over 90% of children with HIV are infected through mother-to-child transmission, which can be prevented with antiretrovirals, as well as safer delivery and feeding practices.
- About 20 million children under five worldwide are severely malnourished, which leaves them more vulnerable to illness and early death.