12 Nov 2008

Unicef says Pacific lagging in child mortality figures

4:06 pm on 12 November 2008

A new Unicef reports says the Pacific is falling behind its goal of reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015.

The report, launched in Solomon Islands this week, says the Pacific kept pace with Southeast Asia until 1990, but has slowed sharply since then, and many countries are not on track to meet Millennium Development Goal 4.

A consultant for Unicef in Kiribati, Dr Kabwea Tiban, says the biggest reason that country is not reaching MDG4 is neonatal deaths.

"We still have some infections occurring, and then there's a problem with asphyxia, so these are all related to the neonatal period, which then we can back track a bit and you can see that it has to do with mothers when they are pregnant and the services that they receive."

Dr Kabwea Tiban says they are trying to develop programmes that are cheap and focus on education.