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Fri Oct 18, 2019, 06:48 PM

Mapping 123 million neonatal, infant and child deaths between 2000 and 2017

The paper I'll discuss in this post is this one: Mapping 123 million neonatal, infant and child deaths between 2000 and 2017.

This paper is open sourced, and anyone who cares can read it in its entirety.

The argument is often made - and it's a very good one - that the carrying capacity of the planet for human beings has been exceeded now for many decades. Thus it might seem that an argument for saving the lives of children under the age of five while consistent with human ethics may conflict with environmental ethics.

I have long argued that this conflict is actually invalid. The countries with the lowest birth rates are precisely those where people are secure in their homes, have sufficient health care, shelter, food, and where the rights of women in particular are most actively supported. The problem of exploding populations is therefore, in my opinion, is actually an issue of poverty and human development.

This is precisely why I personally focus the overwhelming portion of my private scientific interests on clean energy, because without clean energy, we cannot eliminate poverty and advance human development.

From article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the United Nations in 1948, but since honored more in breach than practice:

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Note that Article 25 is not about electric cars and McMansions with solar cells on the roofs. Modern liberalism differs from 1948 liberalism; I personally prefer the latter.


From the abstract:

ince 2000, many countries have achieved considerable success in improving child survival, but localized progress remains unclear. To inform efforts towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.2—to end preventable child deaths by 2030—we need consistently estimated data at the subnational level regarding child mortality rates and trends. Here we quantified, for the period 2000–2017, the subnational variation in mortality rates and number of deaths of neonates, infants and children under 5 years of age within 99 low- and middle-income countries using a geostatistical survival model. We estimated that 32% of children under 5 in these countries lived in districts that had attained rates of 25 or fewer child deaths per 1,000 live births by 2017, and that 58% of child deaths between 2000 and 2017 in these countries could have been averted in the absence of geographical inequality. This study enables the identification of high-mortality clusters, patterns of progress and geographical inequalities to inform appropriate investments and implementations that will help to improve the health of all populations.


From the introduction:

Gains in child survival have long served as an important proxy measure for improvements in overall population health and development1,2. Global progress in reducing child deaths has been heralded as one of the greatest success stories of global health3. The annual global number of deaths of children under 5 years of age (under 5)4 has declined from 19.6 million in 1950 to 5.4 million in 2017. Nevertheless, these advances in child survival have been far from universally achieved, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)4. Previous subnational child mortality assessments at the first (that is, states or provinces) or second (that is, districts or counties) administrative level indicate that extensive geographical inequalities persist5,6,7.

Progress in child survival also diverges across age groups4. Global reductions in mortality rates of children under 5—that is, the under-5 mortality rate (U5MR)—among post-neonatal age groups are greater than those for mortality of neonates (0–28 days)4,8. It is relatively unclear how these age patterns are shifting at a more local scale, posing challenges to ensuring child survival. To pursue the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nations9 to “end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5” by 2030, it is vital for decision-makers at all levels to better understand where, and at what ages, child survival remains most tenuous.


A map:



The caption:

a, U5MR at the second administrative level in 2000. b, U5MR at the second administrative level in 2017. c, Modelled posterior exceedance probability that a given second administrative unit had achieved the SDG 3.2 target of 25 deaths per 1,000 live births for children under 5 in 2017. d, Proportion of mortality of children under 5 occurring in the neonatal (0–28 days) group at the second administrative level in 2017.


We live in a country where children are kept in cages for no "crime" other than their race. We are beneath contempt.

This is probably one of the most important scientific papers in terms of ethical import I've read in a long time, and I read a lot of papers.

Have a nice weekend.

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