GBD 2010: Childhood mortality down worldwide

The World Health Organization announced on Thursday that a systematic disease report has determined that childhood mortality is much lower than it was 20 years ago.

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, a report that describes the global distribution and causes of various diseases, injuries and health risk factors, found that child mortality dropped globally from 11.9 million in 1990 to 7.7 million in 2010. The report finds much left to be done to prevent death among children, reports.

One hundred children die every hour from vaccine-preventable infections such as meningitis, hepatitis B and rotavirus.

The report also found that more young and middle-aged adults are dying and suffering from injury and disease. Non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer are becoming the dominant causes of disability and death worldwide.

"There is a progressive transition towards an increasingly large fraction of the burden of disease coming from non-communicable disease as opposed to communicable diseases and maternal and neonatal causes," Christopher Murray, a leading GBD investigator, said, according to "Yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa there is still a large fraction (of people dying) from communicable, neonatal and maternal causes."

According to the report, 65 to 70 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's disease burden is related to the reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health and the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

GBD 2010 is a major collaborative effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

"Studies such as this...are essential if countries are to be better informed about their health priorities and how these are changing," Alan Lopez, a GBD leading investigator, said, according to "We know that dozens of countries have taken the methodology of GBD and applied it to their own situation to better inform local health planning and policies."