The new report of the WHO Global Health Observatory notes that child mortality, infant mortality and neonatal mortality have all fallen substantially in the last 23 years. The efforts toward obtaining the millennium goals are bearing fruit. http://www.who.int/gho/child_health/mortality/neonatal_infant_text/en/index.html
The detailed report is available here: http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/levels_trends_child_mortality_2013.pdf
Annual neonatal deaths have fallen from 4 and a half million to just under 3 million. At the same time deaths of children under five have fallen from 12.4 million to 6.4 million, in 2000 they were at 9.6 million, so a substantial part of that fall is due to the efforts towards the millennium development goals. Nearly half of the remaining deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the under five mortality rate is still an appalling 97 per 1,000 births, including 32 per 1000 neonatal deaths (compared to 4 in the developed world).
So despite the fall in neonatal mortality, the proportion of pediatric deaths that are neonatal has increased, from 37 to 44%. Even though this is indeed encouraging, it shows that the improvement in neonatal mortality has not been as great as the overall child mortality improvements. Prevention of prematurity, ‘Helping Babies Breathe’, clean cord care, recognition of infections in the neonatal period, cooling for asphyxiated babies, and education of mothers. If we can do all these things we can make a huge difference for millions of babies.