Child mortality rate declines globally

by Celia W. Dugger

Rosaria Chimwaza, a health survey assistant, weighs a baby girl in a Malawi village as her 18-year-old mother looks on. The rate of decline in child mortality for Malawi and six other countries with the highest rates has been much steeper than the global average, according to an analysis by demographers. Perhaps Malawi’s most powerful weapon against child mortality has been its ranks of more than 10,000 high-school-educated village health workers.  Photo: Moises Saman/New York Times

MPATA, Malawi — The number of children dying before their fifth birthdays each year has fallen below nine million for the first time on record, a significant milestone in the global effort to improve children’s chances of survival, particularly in the developing world, according to data that Unicef will release on Thursday.