Maternal, newborn and child survival
Improving the survival chances of newborns, children and mothers is an urgent global challenge.
Children, newborns and mothers have a greater chance of surviving today than they did just three decades ago. The world has witnessed a stunning reduction in child mortality.
In 1990, more than 12.5 million children died before their fifth birthday, largely due to preventable causes. That number has now more than halved.
But despite the progress, diseases like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea – along with pregnancy- and birth-related complications – still continue to claim the lives of millions of children and mothers every year.
In 2020 alone, 5 million children under the age of 5 died, largely due to preventable causes. And an estimated 810 women died every day from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Newborns are the most vulnerable, with almost half of all deaths occurring in the first month of life. Most of these deaths can be avoided.
Young children continue to face wildly divergent chances of surviving and leading a healthy life simply based on where they are born and the economic circumstances they are born into. In many parts of the world, underfunded health systems struggle to provide quality and equitable services to save the lives of children and mothers.
If current trends persist, 48 million children under the age of 5 will die between 2020 and 2030 – half of them newborns. Improving the survival chances of babies, children and their mothers remains an urgent global challenge, and is at the heart of UNICEF’s work.
UNICEF is committed to addressing the needs of mothers, newborns and children, and ensuring they have access to affordable, quality health care, good nutrition and clean water.
We work closely with Governments, partners and communities to combat common infectious childhood diseases and end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. And we help countries reach more children and women – especially the most vulnerable – with essential health services.
Maternal and newborn health
UNICEF and partners help save the lives of mothers, newborns and children and address preventable stillbirths by supporting high-quality, evidence-based, equitable and low-cost care and services before, during and after birth – at health facilities and at home. Similarly, UNICEF works to ensure that services are designed to enable families and their communities to meet all needs of young children.
Despite being entirely preventable and treatable, common infectious diseases still kill children in large numbers. UNICEF supports countries to provide preventative and curative services for pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and other health conditions.
UNICEF and partners support immunization programmes in over 100 countries to help children survive and lead healthy lives. Our efforts include engaging communities to create vaccine demand, procuring and distributing vaccines, and keeping vaccines safe and effective.