Over the past 20 years, child mortality has fallen by 35 per cent around the world. Yet too many children still die needlessly, most of them from causes that are both treatable and preventable.
Innovations save lives
In 2010, 7.6 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday. It is a sharp decrease from 1990, when more than 12 million children died under age five – but it is not good enough.
With less than 3 years left to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline on reducing child mortality, this progress must be dramatically accelerated.
The interventions needed to save these children are, for the most part, known. Existing high-impact, low-cost interventions such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, insecticide-treated bednets, improved breastfeeding practices and safe hygiene practices have already saved millions of lives.
And in recent years, the global community has learned a great deal about how to best provide mothers and children with quality health care. This knowledge presents an unprecedented opportunity to save many more children.
UNICEF in action
The chance to survive is a right owed to every child.
UNICEF and its partners are leading global efforts to end preventable child deaths, working with governments, national and international agencies, and civil society to support effective and life-saving actions at each phase in a child’s life ¬– from prenatal care in a mother’s pregnancy to effective and affordable health care through childhood and into adulthood.
Sixty years of experience tell us that we can turn back child mortality and meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. But we must act together, and we must act now.