B'desh cuts child mortality by half

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Dhaka, Jun 16 (UNI) Bangladesh has emerged as one of the six countries to achieve rapid reduction in child mortality by cutting the number of under-five child deaths by half thereby staying on track to reach Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on child mortality, UNICEF said here today.

The under-five child mortality rate has come down to 68 per thousand this year from 150 per thousand in 1990, a UNICEF official said.

''Today Bangladesh is on track to reach MDG-4 on child mortality reduction,'' UNICEF representative to Bangladesh David Bassiouni said launching its report titled 'The State of the World's Children-2008: Child Survival'.

He said among other developing countries Bangladesh has made remarkable progress by cutting by half the number of under-five child deaths since 1990.

The UNICEF representative said this is even more understanding that South Asia as a region has the second highest number of child deaths in the world. ''Only six countries have achieved such a rapid reduction,'' Mr Bassiouni said.

Such a result is being attributed to success in reaching high coverage of immunization and oral dehydration therapy and promotion of safe hygiene and sanitation practices.

''Achievement in girl's education and improvement in communication infrastructure have also played an important role in addressing child mortality,'' he said.

Health Secretary Jafar Ullah Khan said Bangladesh is close to achieving several targets under MDGs and it is on track to attain the targets of achieving universal primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary and secondary schooling, reducing infant mortality rate and the proportion of population without safe drinking water.

''Bangladesh is also on track for achieving the targets of containing the spread of communicable disease like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis,'' Mr Khan said.

He, however, expressed that bangladesh is lagging behind in respect of some other targets like reducing maternal mortality, completion of primary schooling and attaining gender parity in tertiary education.

The report said the community level integration of essential services for mother, newborn and young children, and sustainable improvements in national health system could save the lives of 26,000 children under five who die each day globally.


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