Of the estimated 6.9 million deaths of children under 5 in 2011 nearly half occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 2.1 million of the 6.9 million deaths (30 percent) occurred in West and Central Africa. UNICEF estimated 756,000 children under five died in Nigeria in 2011; this represents 36 percent of the burden in West and Central Africa and 11 percent of the global burden. One of every ten under five fatalities occurs in Nigeria. (State of the Worlds Children)
The precise cause of these fatalities is poorly understood. Classification is based largely upon the symptomatic presentation of a variety of diseases that can often be indistinguishable such as malaria, pneumonia and sepsis. Because children often meet criteria for several clinical maladies treatment is empirical and non-specific.