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Countdown for UK Child Survival 2017: mortality progress and targets
  1. Russell M Viner1,
  2. Joseph L Ward1,
  3. Ingrid Wolfe2,3
  1. 1 Population, Policy and Practice, UCL Great Ormond St. Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences, Kings College London, London, UK
  3. 3 Evelina London Child Health Partnership, Evelina London Children’s Healthcare, Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Russell M Viner, UCL Great Ormond St. Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK; r.viner{at}


Background The Countdown for UK Child Survival tracks recent UK child mortality trends and makes recommendations for improvement.

Methods We used data from the WHO World Mortality Database to calculate mortality from 1970 to 2014 for 0–19 year olds in the UK and a comparable group of wealthy countries (the EU15+). We used Poisson regression models to assess the significance of apparent differences. We extrapolated model coefficients to estimate future disparites between the UK and the EU15+ to 2030. We proposed goals and intermediate indicators to track UK mortality in keeping with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Results UK infant mortality continues to track in the worst decile of EU15+ mortality with 1–4 year mortality in the worst quartile. Annual reductions in total UK mortality have been significantly lower than the EU15+ since 1990 for infant, postneonatal and 1–4 year mortality. If current trends persist, by 2030 UK infant mortality and 1–4 year mortality could be respectively 180% and 145% of EU15+ median mortality. UK non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality among 1–4 years and 15–19 years persists in the worst quartile. UK injury mortality continues in the best quartile. A framework of goals and indicators for UK child survival and health is presented.

Discussion UK mortality among under 10 years of age continues to diverge from the EU15+ median, and UK NCD mortality remains persistently poor. We propose a set of goals to improve UK childhood survival by 2030 and an annual Countdown mechanism to monitor progress towards these targets.

  • mortality
  • health service

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  • Contributors RMV and IW conceptualised the paper. RMV undertook data analysis. IW identified the indicators. JLW helped with writing the paper. All authors contributed to the final draft.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data available from authors.