This year’s United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME)’s findings represent a noteworthy moment in the ongoing campaign to end all preventable child deaths: The annual number of under-five deaths has fallen to 4.9 (4.6–5.4) million in 2022.  The report reveals that more children are surviving today than ever before, with the global under-5 mortality rate declining by 51 per cent since 2000. And several low- and lower-middle-income countries have outpaced this decline. This is a testament to the commitment of governments, organizations, local communities, health-care professionals and families to the survival of the most vulnerable members of our global community.

Yet millions of children still died before seeing their fifth birthday – a loss that serves as a crucial reminder that threats to newborn and child health and survival persist around the world, particularly among the most marginalized children.  In addition to the 4.9 million lives lost before the age of 5 – nearly half of which were newborns – the lives of another 2.1 million children and youth aged 5-24 were also cut short. Most of these deaths were concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. There is still a long road ahead to end all preventable child and youth deaths.

Ending preventable child deaths in every community will require targeted investments in available, accessible quality health care, including skilled health personnel at birth, antenatal and postnatal care, care for small and sick newborns, preventive services such as vaccination, and diagnostic, preventive and curative measures to treat the key causes of childhood death. Data systems must also be strengthened to track and monitor survival by age and to help address underlying inequalities. This will enable us to move closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive.