Child health and survival
Making sure every child in every community can thrive.
Every year, millions of children die from causes that are preventable and treatable.
The COVID-19 pandemic, on top of conflicts and climate shocks, has compounded the problem.
Rates of immunization have been backsliding to their lowest levels in three decades. Nearly 67 million children globally missed out on the routine vaccines that keep them safe from deadly disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. The story of the children who are not being vaccinated is one of inequity, poverty and underserved communities.
Meanwhile, conflict, economic strife and a changing climate continues to threaten food security.
This is the moment for catalytic change.
The pandemic has taught everyone how important global health is and the deep inequities that exist.
UNICEF is working tirelessly to make sure that every child has the access to the health care and nutrition they need to not only survive, but thrive.
What needs to happen
- Make sure that all children have access to routine immunizations. Urgent action is needed to stop the dangerous trend of routine immunizations backsliding and the reemergence of vaccine preventable diseases. Large scale catch-up vaccination campaigns are an immediate solution to protect the children that missed out on their doses in the past few years.
- Improve primary health care by building stronger health systems. That means training and supporting health workers, building trust in community health institutions, creating stronger supply chains and building more vaccination sites, among other things.
- Combat food instability, making sure every child has access to good nutrition. A nutritious diet is fundamental to a child’s survival and development. Across the globe, one in three children under 5 is affected by malnutrition.
How UNICEF is responding
UNICEF’s mission is to reach every single child with life-saving vaccines.
We’re on the frontlines, bringing doses to the communities that need them the most, including in some of the hardest to reach parts of the world.
Protected from disease, these children have the opportunity to thrive, the chance to learn and the ability to live healthy lives.
Every year, UNICEF supplies vaccines to reach 45 per cent of the world’s children under five years of age.
And through nutrition programmes in more than 100 countries, we detect, treat and care for malnourished children – helping them to survive and recover.
Information for policymakers and partners
Millions of children continue to miss out on their most basic vaccines. At the same time, severe acute malnutrition is on the rise. Service disruptions, economic chaos, conflict and overburdened health systems have threatened a devastating rise in preventable child deaths.
Urgent action is needed from governments to fund, build and strengthen health systems, addressing the deep inequities that exist. We also call on policymakers and partners to increase community trust in health workers and build confidence in life-saving vaccines. This is an important first step in what should be a long-term plan to recover vaccination efforts post-pandemic, and strengthen primary health care.
UNICEF has helped reach more than 760 million children with life-saving vaccines - preventing more than 13 million deaths - in the last 20 years.
Information for families
Vaccines are amongst the greatest advances of modern medicine. They help to keep our families and our communities safe.
Good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival and development.
If you’re looking for information on childhood routine vaccinations and good nutrition, this is where to start.