Where we stand

CHILD SURVIVAL TODAY

The State of the World’s Children 2008 provides a wide-ranging assessment of the current state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children. These issues lie at the heart of human progress, serving as sensitive barometers of a country’s development and well-being and telling evidence of its priorities and values.

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What we have learned

A CENTURY OF EVOLVING HEALTH SYSTEMS AND PRACTICES

With the target date for Millennium Development Goal 4, – which aims to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015– drawing near and many countries making insufficient progress to achieve it, critical questions arise, namely: How can momentum on maternal, newborn and child survival be recaptured and progress accelerated in the next eight years?

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What can be done

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Families, especially parents and other primary caregivers, form the first line of care when an infant falls sick. They make the initial diagnosis of illness, assess its severity, select treatment and care options, procure and administer drugs and other remedies and decide whether or not to seek formal health care.

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A CONTINUUM OF MATERNAL, NEWBORN AND CHILD HEALTH CARE

More than half of all maternal and newborn deaths occur during childbirth and the first few days of a baby’s life; this is also the period when health coverage is lowest. An effective continuum of care connects essential maternal, newborn and child health packages through pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal and newborn periods, and into childhood and adolescence.

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HEALTH SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

For countries facing a crisis in child health and survival, low health system capacity and lack of funding for health-system development are serious macro-level constraints that can limit the impact of strengthening community partnerships, the continuum of care and developing health systems to achieve specific results.

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The means are at hand

NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMITMENT

Time and again, it has been shown that when governments take the lead and are committed to expanding successful pilot and small-scale projects, these initiatives can rapidly gain nationwide coverage.

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GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS FOR HEALTH

Many have heard the cry for child and maternal survival and health. Since the early years of the child survival revolution, global partnerships for health, often financed through private sources, have proliferated and reinvigorated the field.

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The way forward

UNITING FOR CHILD SURVIVAL

The State of the World’s Children 2008 calls on governments, donors, civil society and other stakeholders to unite for child survival and commit themselves to ensuring that the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are met. It identifies some pivotal actions at the macro level that urgently require a unified response.

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