Improving children’s lives

By | News & Politics
Two Somali girls hold their twin brothers outside a tented hospital ward at a free Outpatient's Department medical clinic, at the headquarters of the Burundian Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in Mogadishu. (UN Photo/Stuart Price)

Around 90 million children’s lives have been saved over the past two decades thanks to concerted global and national action for children, according to a new report by UNICEF.

The annual number of under-five mortality rate has been reduced from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. The reductions are due to more effective and affordable treatments, improvements in mothers’ nutrition and education, innovations in bringing critical services to those who need it most.

UNICEF estimates that, at the current rate, it may take another 13 years, until 2028, before the world aims to meet the promise of Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality by two-thirds. The progress made to date is due to the collective efforts of governments, civil society and the private sector, as well as the increase in affordable, evidence-based interventions, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, medicines, vaccines, proper breastfeeding, nutritional supplements and therapeutic food, rehydration treatment for diarrhoea, and improved access to safe water and sanitation, among others.

The report shows reductions in preventable child passing across all regions of the world, and at all levels of national income, including minimal-income countries. Some of the world’s far from economically developed countries seem to have made the strongest gains in child survival since 1990.

A few minimal-income countries with high child mortality rates, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal and United Republic of Tanzania, have already reduced their under-five mortality rates by two-thirds or more since 1990, reaching Millennium Development Goal 4 for the reduction of child mortality .

Sub-Saharan Africa’s annual rate of reduction increased more than fivefold since the early 1990s.  In the past seven years, Eastern and Southern Africa has been among the best performing regions in the world, reducing under-five mortality at an annual rate of 5.3 per cent in 2005-2012.

How might these productive aid efforts be increased?

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