measles-shots-dpr.jpgDeaths of children under five years of age have plummeted by almost one third since 1990, the United Nations World Health Organization said yesterday.

28 percent fewer young children worldwide died in 1997 than the number estimated to have died in 1990, according to “World Health Statistics,” WHO’s first progress report on the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the eight globally-agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

“The decline in the death toll of children under five illustrates what can be achieved by strengthening health systems and scaling up interventions, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets for malaria and oral rehydration therapy for diarrhoea, increased access to vaccines and improved water and sanitation in developing countries,” said Ties Boerma, Director of WHO’s Department of Health Statistics and Informatics.

The sharp decline worldwide came as an estimated 9 million young children died in 1997, down from 12.5 million estimated in 1990.