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Keeping the promise to the world's children
The 1990 World Summit for Children set goals for improving the lives of the
world's children. With UNICEF's support, countries around the world have been
translating those promises into reality and recording practical gains for
- Child mortality down: 216 of every 1,000 children born
in developing countries died before age 5 in 1960; by 1995 the rate was reduced
by more than half to 100 deaths per 1,000 births.
- Immunization rates up: 80% in most countries in 1994
from less than 10% in the late 1970s, saving nearly 3 million young lives each
- Polio nearing eradication: Large areas of the world are
becoming polio-free. The western hemisphere, for example, was declared
polio-free in 1994.
- Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) saving lives: More than 1
million children a year do not die from diarrhoeal dehydration thanks to ORT.
- Progress against iodine deficiency disorders (IDD):
In more than 100 countries, 1.6 billion people are at risk of IDD-the world's
greatest cause of preventable mental retardation. The range of problems IDD
causes is being eliminated through iodi-zation of all edible salt.
- Vitamin A needs being met: Vitamin A deficiency, a major
cause of blindness and early death among the world's children, is nearing
elimination in at least half of the 67 countries where children are threatened.
- Breastfeeding made friendlier: Nearly 4,000 hospitals
worldwide have earned the 'baby- friendly' designation from UNICEF and WHO as of
end-September 1995 for following 10 steps to promote breastfeeding, the
cornerstone of infant care and nutrition.
- Primary school enrolment up: In 1995, 77 per cent of
primary school age children were enrolled, up from 48 per cent in 1960.
- Access to safe drinking water: 780 million people in
developing countries gained access to safe drinking water during the period
1990-1994, a major contribution to family health.
- Guinea worm disease (dracunculiasis) elimination in sight:
This scourge in areas of Africa and Asia, transmitted through unsafe
drinking water, has been reduced by more than 90 per cent since the 1980s.
- 181 nations ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child:
As of November 1995, 181 countries had committed themselves to ensure
that all children have the right to develop physically and mentally to their
full potential, to express their opinions freely, and to be protected against
all forms of abuse and exploitation.
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