Why has child mortality fallen? Improvements in dealing with malaria using insecticide-treated bednets were particular important.
Among the possible causes of the decline are various targeted new public health initiatives and improved access to water and sanitation. A Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition using Demographic and Health Survey data shows that the increased ownership of insecticide-treated bednets in endemic malaria zones explains 39 percent of the decline in postneonatal mortality and 58 percent of the decline in infant mortality. Changes in other observable candidate factors do not explain substantial portions of the decline. The portion of the decline not explained may be associated with generalized trends such as the overall improvement in living standards that has taken place with economic growth.The absolute numbers still aren't wonderful. There are nineteen to twenty child deaths per 100 live births each year in Niger and Mali. Even better performing countries like Senegal, Kenya and Madgascar have seven child deaths per 100 live births each year.
In the developed world, one infant death per 100 live births is on the high side and child deaths are much less common after a child survives infancy.