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Two million under-fives die each year in central, west Africa: UN

Published on Jun 23, 2014 6:37 AM
A child sits outside a locked shack in Nkaneng township, Marikana's informal settlement, in Rustenburg. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ABIDJAN (AFP) - Two million children under five die each year in central and western Africa, accounting for almost a third of all deaths worldwide in that age range, the UN children’s agency said on Sunday.

Progress in reducing child mortality has not affected the overall number of deaths because of “enormous” population growth, said Manuel Fontaine, Unicef's director for the region.

“Things are gradually improving. On some measures, the mortality rate for children is falling,” he told AFP.

But because of population growth, “the number of children under five who die every year from preventable causes remains unchanged” at two million, he said.

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