Friday, September 14, 2007

Child Mortality Hits Record Low

Child mortality dropped because of easy, low-tech, and mostly nutritional improvements:

  1. Breast-feeding
  2. Vitamin A drops
  3. DDT spraying, draining swamps, and mosquito nets
  4. Immunizations
If hygiene and nutrition improve, babies live. If they aren't bit by nasty bugs, babies live. Pretty simple solutions, actually. But the most difficult solution is to end war:
Despite the improvement, two sets of countries have worsened, Unicef said: those in southern Africa that have been hit hardest by AIDS, and those that have been at war recently, like Congo and Sierra Leone.
Iraq is worse, too, but the numbers come from 2004 and the situation has dramatically changed. It also depends on the part of Iraq. Experts expect better overall numbers the next time the study is released:
Interestingly, Unicef officials said, the new estimate comes from household surveys done in 2005 or earlier, so they barely reflect the huge influx of money that has poured into third world health in the last few years from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Gates Foundation; and the Bush administration’s twin programs to fight AIDS and malaria. For that reason, the next five-year survey should show even greater improvement, they said.
This is good news.