Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Neonatal mortality: trends 1990-2010

Neonatal mortality has been declining worldwide. The number of deaths among babies 0-28 days of life decreased from 4.4 million in 1990 to 3 million in 2010. There was also a 28% reduction in neonatal mortality rates (NMRs) over the same period of time, from an estimated 32 deaths per 1000 live births to 23 deaths per 1000 live births - a slow progress. While some advancement have been in place and NMRs have declined in all WHO regions of the world, progress is unequally distributed.

While NMRs were halved in the European and Western Pacific regions, the reduction observed in the African region was only of 19%. Progress has been generally slow, and slowest in the region with highest NMR.

Although both, numbers and rates, have been lessening over the last 20 years, neonatal mortality account for an increasingly proportion of under-five deaths. Globally, this proportion augmented from an estimated 37% in 1990 to 40% in 2010. Regions with the largest proportional increase relative to under-five deaths were the European region, South-east Asia and the Western Pacific region1.

Trends in neonatal mortality rates at global and regional levels 1990-2010

Trends in neonatal mortality rates at global and regional levels. 1990-2010

Chart data from: UN-IGME. Levels & trends in child mortality. Report 2011