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Annual maternal deaths in developing countries have declined by nearly one half since 1990, and children deaths have dropped from 12 million to 7.6 million in 2010.

Annual maternal deaths in developing countries have declined by nearly one half since 1990, and children deaths have dropped from 12 million to 7.6 million in 2010, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The information was published under the Countdown to 2015 Project, which seeks to reduce the numbers of mother and child deaths by two-thirds. The Los Angeles Times reported that, "in the United States, the number of deaths among children under age 5 is about six or seven per 1,000 live births. In Somalia and Mali, in contast, the rates are 180 and 178 per 1,000 births, respectively."

Medical Daily referred to a recent report released by Save the Children, which said that "Niger was the worst country for mothers due to high maternal mortality rates, while Norway was the best place to be a mother. The United States of America was at a dismal 25 in the list." In a separate study released in 2010, Medical Daily also reported, "researchers found that only 23 countries of the 180 countries studied were on track of achieving the Millennium Development Goal 5, a target of reducing maternal mortality rate by 75 percent."

"Global efforts to save the lives of women, newborn babies and young children are not moving fast enough," Mickey Chopra, chief health officer of United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) and co-chair of the Countdown to 2015 initiative, said in a news release.

Medicalxpress reported that "it is still essential to maintain and try to increase current funding, according to Berman. The Countdown report shows that funding from official aid sources has increased steadily, but that increase started to slow with the global economic downturn."

The results indicate improvement," Berman said, but further work needs to be done. "Some countries are showing us what success looks like, but many other countries still have to learn the lessons of those successes."

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News. Email [email protected]