Great News from Africa: Child Mortality Rates Plummeting


From the Center for Global Development's web site:

New statistics show that the rate of child death across sub-Saharan Africa is not just in decline—but that decline has massively accelerated, just in the last few years. From the middle to the end of the last decade, rates of child mortality across the continent plummeted much faster than they ever had before.

These shocking new numbers are in a paper released today by Gabriel Demombynes and Karina Trommlerová in the Kenya office of the World Bank…

This is a stunningly rapid decline, and nothing like it was occurring even as recently as the first half of the decade. For comparison, the Millennium Development Goal of a 2/3 decline in child mortality between 1990 and 2015 translates into a 1.6 percent annual decline in child mortality. In other words, the above countries are successfully reducing child mortality at an annual rate quadruple the rate called for by the Millennium Development Goals. They are doing this across hundreds of millions of people, across a vast landscape of hundreds of thousands of villages and cities.

The full World Bank study.

Reason on Africa.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Fist of Etiquette for reminding me I should really have called attention to this line from the World Bank study summary: "A Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition using Demographic and Health Survey data shows that the increased ownership of insecticide-treated bednets in endemic malaria zones explains 39 percent of the decline in postneonatal mortality and 58 percent of the decline in infant mortality." We have written about the marvelous advantages of malaria reduction here at Reason for a long time.