Highest world child mortality rate in Sub Sahara but progress evident


Significant progress has been made as countries have managed to meet the target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty,

says the 2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report released by the United Nations (UN) on July 1st.
Major progress in other targets areas include access to drinking water as well as the decline of urban slum dwellers. Remarkable gains have been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis as improvements in all health areas has become noticeable. Over the last 21 years, more than 2.1 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources. The proportion of the global population using such sources reached 89 percent in 2010, up from 76 percent in 1990. This means that the MDG drinking water target was met five years ahead of the target date, despite significant population growth.
The report emphasizes that progress for all children in Sub Saharan Africa is within reach. The region doubled its average reduction rate of child deaths from 1.5 percent a year in the decade starting from 1990 to 2000 to 3.1 percent a year from 2000 to 2011. Although numbers show significant progress, child mortality rate in the region is still the highest in the world.
Ethiopia is placed among countries whose under-five children death rates are high, but have managed to decrease it by 60 percent along with Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda.
The report calls for action to improve sanitation and the lives of slum dwellers as it is one of the targets that has not shown much progress. Between 1990 and 2011, the proportion of the population using an improved sanitation facility increased marginally from 26 percent to 30 percent, and the high proportion of slum dwellers dropped slightly; from 65 percent in 2000 to 62 percent in 2012. These numbers need to change fast, it says.
Aid has also been identified as another area that needs to be addressed. The report states that bilateral net official development assistance to Sub Saharan Africa amounted to USD 26.2 billion in 2012; the number shows an 8 percent drop from 2011. The current shift in aid away from the poorest countries in the world is due to its diversion towards middle-income countries who offer soft loans.
On the other hand, indicators for women are improving. Despite having the highest maternal mortality ratio among all regions, Sub Sahara Africa saw mortality ratios fall by 41 percent over the past two decades.
The proportion of parliamentary seats held by women also increased from 13 per cent in 2000 to 21 per cent in 2013, the second highest among all developing regions. Globally, one of the highest electoral gains for women in 2012 was seen in Senegal, where women took 43 percent of parliamentary seats.