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The number of children who die before their fifth birthday globally has more than halved since 1990, but the current death count of 15,000 children daily is far too high, the UN said, on Thursday.

"Despite this progress, large disparities in child survival still exist across regions and countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa," Under-Secretary General, Liu Zhenmin, and top UN economic official, said.

The UN said in a report that was published on Thursday that in countries south of the Sahara desert, one in 13 children die before they reach the age of five.

In developed countries, the ratio is one in 189, according to the report that was drawn up by several agencies, including the World Health Organisation and the UN Children_s Fund.

It said that preventable and treatable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea, as well as birth complications are the biggest killers of young children around the globe.

The UN is especially worried about newborn mortality, as 7,000 babies who are less than a month old die each day.

According to the report, the vast majority of these newborn deaths occur in South Asian or sub-Saharan countries, pointing at high number rates in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.

The UN agencies urge countries to improve health care for pregnant women, and to promote immunisation, breastfeeding and cheap medicines.

"Access to clean water and sanitation facilities are also key to keeping small children safe from illness,__ the UN said. (NAN)

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The National Chairman of the the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said agitations over perceived marginalisation by the people of the South-east will only end if the region joins the progressives fold.

Against the background of a long-standing agitations by the people from the South-east which recently snowballed it outright clamour for a state of Biafra by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, Oyegun said the party was eager to bring the zone into the mainstream of progressives politics.

He said this yesterday at the party_s national secretariat, during a reconciliation meeting organised to pacify the aggrieved aspirants in the recently conducted Anambra State governorship primary.

According to Oyegun, Anambra is an important state for the party to win, describing it as "the gateway to the South-east."

He also stated that it was important for all to work very hard to win Anambra being a critical state in the South-east.

Oyegun said: "It is important that we do everything we can, fair and square, to bring Anambra State into the fold of the progressives for a lot of reason. Until we manage to bring few states into the mainstream of progressives politics, we may not see the end of this continued cry of marginalisation."

However, one of the aggrieved aspirants who petitioned against the outcome of the APC governorship primary, Senator Andy Uba, boycotted the meeting.

Also, Paul Chukwuma and Uchegbu Adaobi did not attend the peace meeting.
While appealing to defeated aspirants at the meeting, Oyegun said: "We are in politics and we recognise that each and every one of those who aspired for the office of the governor of the state has a constituency. Each has something very significant to contribute if we are to have hope of winning the governor_s seat in the state from an incumbent.
 "It is very important, that we manage to hammer together not just a patch work of peace or make believe kind of camaraderie but a very serious unity of purpose among all those who aspired for that office to act as a serious guarantee that we are indeed also serious in winning the governorship seat."

Also speaking, former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, while congratulating all the defeated aspirants for aspiring to be the candidate, he urged them to accept the outcome of the primary poll and move on.

"I speak out of experience, observation and interest. We have people who have gone through the crisply of planning in Nigeria_s electoral process. The chairman talked about unity of purpose but I want to add that we need unity of action," Nnamani said.

Speaking on behalf of other aspirants at the meeting, Bart Nwibe urged the party and the presidency to actively step into the matter to help in achieving the set goal.

"We are optimist that we will do our best. We are on ground, and if we do the needful, there is no reason we cannot win our state. We have a candidate who is a very young fellow and I am certain he will bring kind of freshness but I think our party and the presidency will have to step in to help us achieve this," he said.

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