Five million children died worldwide before their fifth birthday in 2021. 1.9 million babies were stillborn during the same period.
These reports also indicate that children continue to have vastly different chances of survival depending on where they are born, with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia bearing the heaviest burden. Although sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 29% of live births globally, the region recorded 56% of all under-five child deaths in 2021, and South Asia 26% of the total. Children born in sub-Saharan Africa face the highest risk of infant death in the world – 15 times higher than the risk for children in Europe and North America.
According to the UN, many deaths could be avoided in particular through equitable access to quality health care, vaccines, adequate food, and drinking water.
Furthermore, the UN agency warns that unless quick action is taken to enhance health services around the world, almost 59 million children and young people will die before 2030, as well as nearly 16 million babies will be lost by a stillbirth.