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UNICEF Says Global Child Mortality Falling

Afghan refugees at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camp in Kabul.
The UN children's agency says in a new report that the number of children dying around the world before the age of 5 has dropped by some 40 percent over the past 20 years.

UNICEF says the estimated global toll has fallen from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011.

Some of the reduction was due to poorer countries getting richer, but some was also due to well-targeted aid such as encouraging breastfeeding or immunizing against common diseases, the report suggests.

The authors say efforts to target infectious diseases such as measles have divided by five the number of related deaths between 2000 and 2011.

It also found that child deaths are increasingly concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which together accounted for more than 80 percent of all under-five deaths in 2011.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa