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AROUND 43 million children below the age of five could die between 2021 and 2030 globally if governments fail to urgently put in place measures to stop child mortality, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has said.

The United Nations body’s latest report titled Levels and Trends in Child Mortality also showed that 58% of the deaths will take place in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report noted, however, that in 2020, child and youth mortality was on a downward trend compared to previous years.

Unicef also warned that if the current trends continued, 54 countries will not meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target on under-five mortality, while more than 60 countries will miss the target on neonatal mortality.

Child mortality in Zimbabwe was reported at 1% in 2020, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognised sources.

“If current trends continue, 54 countries will not meet the SDG target on under-five mortality, more than 60 countries will miss the target on neonatal mortality and 43 million under-five deaths are projected to take place between 2021 and 2030. About half of these deaths will be new-borns and more than half will take place in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, without urgent action, almost 21 million children, adolescents and youth aged five to 24 years are projected to die before 2030,” read the Unicef report.

Unicef also said more than 80% of the total under-five deaths recorded in 2020 occurred in the sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia regions alone.

The children’s organisation recommended that there is a need for the world to direct its attention to the most vulnerable regions, countries and age groups to effectively address annual child deaths, and to strengthen health care equity in delivering high quality maternal, new born and child survival interventions.

“Though sub-Saharan Africa was not as hard hit as some other regions in terms of COVID-19-related mortality in 2020, the region’s doggedly high mortality rates and future demographics call for increased focus on this region,” Unicef said.

They also projected that 408 million births are expected to take place between 2021 and 2030 in sub-Saharan Africa, while the under-five population is projected to increase by 17% to about 199 million, by 2030.

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