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I sense some over-exuberance in this blog. I've graphed the top 8 declines indicated in this article using the World Bank's WDI data for under-5 mortality (Q5) from 1980 to 2010. The trends suggest that half of these 8 countries are simply following a better-than-average path of decline that goes back at least three decades; the other 4 appear to be recovering from a disaster in the 1990s that disrupted childhood mortality declines (HIV/AIDS for Uganda, Zambia and Kenya; Rwanda's genocide/state failure). Certainly, these declines are indeed a "good news story". They are steeper than the sub-Saharan average -- but graphing them produces trends that, for half of the "top-8" (Mozambique, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal) seem to be an extension of the "long slog" of broad, incremental improvements in public health, in education (particularly for women), income and urbanization that promoted declines in under-5 mortality elsewhere. The remaining 4 countries are recovering from disaster that affected childhood mortality. Zambia, Uganda and Kenya seem to be declining from upsurges in Q5 during the 1990s, likely the influence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Rwanda's declines in Q5 are steepest, but if one draws a line from Rwanda's pre-conflict period (1985), when Q5 was ~160 per thousand, and connects it with the 2010 level, ~90, the decline's slope is much like Ghana's; still impressive, but not as steep as indicated in the article. Yes, treated bed nets are likely contributing to these incremental declines; yes, improving access to health services works. But the underlying secular trends haven't dramatically changed -- childhood mortality in SSA has been declining for more than 3 decades. Four of these African states have, without disruption, done better than most SSA states; four of the 8 have shown the strength to recover from a significant disruption. It is great news ... just not so exciting. On the other hand, can you imagine a journalist picking up the news of ongoing secular declines and transforming it into the newspaper headline, "Sub-Saharan Africa: Long-term childhood mortality declines continue, even after disruptions" ? How exciting! (not really, unless you're in the public health game)