The loss of a child is a tragedy - families suffer and human potential is wasted. 6.3 million children under the age of five died in 2013, nearly 17 000 every day. Most deaths among children aged one to five years are due to diseases that can be prevented, but that can also be easily treated at home or in health facilities. Leading causes of death in under-five children are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhoea and malaria. About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
Under-five deaths are increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, while the proportion in the rest of the world dropped from 32% in 1990 to 18% in 2013. Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed regions. About half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries: China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. India (21%) and Nigeria (13%) together account for more than a third of all under-five deaths.