The chance that an Iraqi child will live beyond age 5 has plummeted faster than anywhere else in the world since 1990, according to a report released Tuesday, which placed the country last in its child survival rankings.
One in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching their fifth birthday in 2005, according to the report by Save the Children, which said Iraq ranked last because it had made the least progress toward improving child survival rates.
Iraq's mortality rate has soared by 150% since 1990. Even before the latest war, Iraq was plagued by electricity shortages, a lack of clean water and too few hospitals.
The vast majority of child deaths — more than nine in 10 — occur in just 60 developing countries, the report said.
Of the approximately 10 million children under age 5 who die every year, most could be saved with cheap solutions, like nets to protect against mosquito-borne malaria or antibiotics to treat pneumonia, according to the report.
"These aren't intractable problems," Dr. William Foege, of the Emory University School of Public Health, wrote in a foreword to the report. "It is simply wrong for only the few to have access to all of the tools for survival because of where they live."
[The Associated Press]