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Infant Mortality

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of progress towards meeting Millennium Development Goal 4; and if he will make a statement. (187777)

The latest assessment of progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 is included in the annual “State of the World’s Children Report” by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published in January 2008. Overall in 2006, global child deaths reached a record low of 9.7 million, down from 13 million in 1990. The report showed that solid progress has been made in a number of countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The report also highlighted that a concentrated push is required to accelerate progress in West Africa and parts of Asia to cut child deaths. MDG 4 is inextricably linked to MDG 5 (to improve maternal health) as 40 per cent. of children under the age of five are dying within a few days of birth. This is why the Prime Minister has called for 2008 to be a year of action towards meeting the MDGs especially those concerned with child mortality (MDG 4) and maternal health (MDG 5), which remain the most off-track.