Reduce Child Mortality

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality

Goal 4.A: Reduce child mortality by 2/3

4.A Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate

The following is from the UN Millennium Goals web site – Child health

  • Despite population growth, the number of deaths, in children under five worldwide declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012, which translates into about 17,000 fewer children dying each day – mostly from preventable diseases.

  • Since 2000, measles vaccines have averted over 10 million deaths

  • Despite determined global progress in reducing child deaths, an increasing proportion of child deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa where one in ten children die before the age of five and in Southern Asia where one in 16 die before age five

  • As the rate of under-five deaths overall declines, the proportion that occurs during the first month after birth is increasing

  • Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before the age of five as those from wealthier families

  • Children of educated mothers – even mothers with only primary schooling – are more likely to survive than children of mothers with no education

  • Gains have been made in child survival since 1990, making it possible to increase child survival for future generations.

  • Newborns now account for almost half (44 per cent) of under-five deaths. Also, undernutrition contributes to 45 per cent of all under-five deaths. Children who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life are 14 times more likely to survive than non-breastfed children.

  • Solutions don’t have to be complicated. There are inexpensive and simple responses that save children’s lives, by preventing and by treating illnesses.

What’s Working

  • Bangladesh: UNICEF supported local-level efforts such as training community healthcare workers have led to a sharp decline in maternal and child mortality.

  • Peru: Indigenous children from Peru’s remote regions are among the most disadvantaged in the world. In some areas, half the children suffer from chronic malnutrition and many are anemic and Vitamin A-deficient. Rural families are now getting assistance from the MDG-Fund for Farmers – a program that provides training on agricultural and management techniques to farmers to improve their children’s health and nutrition.

  • Chad: UNICEF has expanded immunization programs in Chad – one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world. This program uses community outreach, workers, radio broadcasts and campaigns.

  • Nigeria: Saving One Million Lives by the Nigerian Government. This is an ambitious initiative to expand access to essential primary health services to women and children, including telephone lines for health workers, equipment to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, bed nets, and other life-saving tools.

  • India: Newborns saved by rural healthcare. The second-largest state in India has the highest infant mortality rate in the country. The state government and UNICEF are turning things around by setting up healthcare facilities linking rural communities to district hospitals, and establishing health centers where there were none. The Special Newborn Care Unite of the hospital has alone saved more than 6,000 children.

  • Cambodia: Efforts target measles in hard-to-reach communities. The number of children less than 1 year of age who were immunized against measles went up by 71 per cent, but 7 per cent were still not being reached. The World Health Organization (WHO) helped the national immunization program identify communities at high risk of missing out on vaccines. Measles immunization sessions were then held in market places and village leaders’ homes in those communities. Cases of measles went down from 722 cases in 2011 to none in 2012.

  • Every Woman Every Child is an unprecedented global movement to mobilize and intensify global action to save the lives of 16 million women and children around the world and improve the health and lives of millions more. Working with leaders from over 70 governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society, Every Woman Every child has secured commitments from over 280 partners.

The following is from “The Millennium Development Goals Report – 2013” published by the United Nations

  • Most of the infant deaths occurred in the poorest regions and countries of the world, and in the most underprivileged areas within countries

  • Newborns in their first month of life now account for a growing share of child deaths.

  • India and Nigeria account for more than a third of all deaths in children under five worldwide.

  • The main causes of infant mortality are pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and undernutrition

  • Children are at greater risk of dying before age five if they are born in rural areas or to a mother denied basic education

  • Eight of the 10 countries with the world’s highest under-five mortality rates are marked by conflict or violence or are characterized by weak central governments

  • Between 2000 and 2011, global coverage of the first-dose measles vaccine (two doses are required) increased from 72 per cent to 84 percent. Over the same period, it rose from 53 per cent to 74 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, with similar progress in Southern Asia. (The goal is 90 per cent.)