5 million children under 5 years of age still die every year in the world, the main achievements of the child, infant and early age has been made since 1970, when the figure was more than 17 million. Today nearly all child deaths occur in developing countries, almost half of them in Africa.
Across the world, children are at higher risk of dying if they are poor. The most impressive declines in child mortality have occurred in developed countries, and in low-mortality developing countries whose economic situation has improved. In contrast, the declines observed in countries with higher mortality have occurred at a slower rate, stagnated or even reversed. 19 are in Africa, the exception being Afghanistan. A baby born in Sierra Leone is three and a half times more likely to die before its fifth birthday than a child born in India, and more than a hundred times more likely to die than a child born in Iceland or Singapore. Fifteen countries, mainly European but including Japan and Singapore, had child mortality rates in 2002 of less than 5 per 1000 live births. Estimated child mortality rates for 2002 are given for all WHO Member States in Annex Table 1.