Help children survive and thrive in a region where still far too many do not see their fifth birthday.
And yet there has been real progress: The outlook on child survival in Eastern and Southern Africa has improved steadily since 1990, with under-five child mortality rates reducing at an average annual rate of 3.7 per cent.
The achievements are positive, but the challenges remain.
Progress in reducing under-five mortality has been uneven throughout the region. There are significant differences across countries, and clear inequalities within countries. Maternal mortality continues to remain high and the region accounts for a quarter of all maternal deaths worldwide.
Overall, 31.5 per cent of under-five deaths are attributable to preventable causes such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Newborn deaths account for more than 4 in 10 under-five deaths, and for every 10 newborn deaths, there are 9 ‘invisible’ stillbirths. About 30 per cent of neonatal deaths in the region are due to complications during delivery, prematurity, infections and pneumonia.
Despite progress made to eradicate polio in the region, some countries remain at risk and require significant and sustained efforts in the areas of surveillance, control, eradication and routine immunization – especially those in the Horn of Africa sub-region, as well as South Sudan and Madagascar.
Children are also at risk of not achieving their full developmental potential because of inadequate caregiving and early stimulation practices, particularly in the first 1,000 days of life.