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UN: Child Mortality Rate Falling

The number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthday has fallen by a third since 1990, the United Nations Children Fund has said.

But the rate of decline is still way off a globally agreed target set to be met by 2015, Unicef said in a report on Friday.

It said the total number of under-five deaths decreased to 8.1 million per year in 2009 from 12.4 million per year in 1990, from 89 deaths per 1,000 live births to 60 in 2009.

The deaths are increasingly concentrated in India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China. The highest rates were in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in eight children dies before their fifth birthday.

"The good news is that these estimates suggest 12,000 fewer children are dying each day around the world compared to 1990," Unicef said in a statement.

"However the tragedy of preventable child deaths continues. Some 22,000 children under five still die each day, with some 70 per cent of these deaths occurring in the first year of the child's life."

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