State of the World's Children


2013: Children with Disabilities

2012 : Children in an urban world

2011: Adolescence

Special: Child rights

2009: Maternal + newborn health

2008: Child survival

2007: Gender equality


2008: Child survival

Uniting in will and action to save the lives of all children.

© UNICEF/2008

The State of the World’s Children 2008 assesses the state of child survival and primary health care for mothers, newborns and children today showcasing how these issues lie at the heart of human progress.

While the Report highlights the remarkable advances made in the last four decades to half the annual number of child deaths, it also indicates that much more must be done since some 26,000 children under the age of five die every day, mostly from preventable causes.

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?

§ What frameworks, strategies and resources are required to achieve the goal? How should countries set priorities in maternal, newborn and child health?

Established solutions
Research reveals that only about 1 per cent of deaths among children under five have unknown causes and that up to two thirds of them are entirely preventable. The most basic, yet important, services and practices identified include:

§ skilled attendants at delivery and newborn care

§ care of low birthweight infants

§ hygiene promotion

§ prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and paediatric treatment of AIDS

§ adequate nutrition, particularly in the form of early and exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life

§ complementary feeding combined with continued breastfeeding for at least two more years

§ micronutrient supplementation to boost immune systems

§ immunisation to protect children against the six major vaccine-preventable diseases

§ oral rehydration therapy and zinc to combat diarrhoeal disease

§ antibiotics to fight pneumonia

§ insecticide-treated mosquito nets and effective medicines to prevent and treat malaria.

Making child survival a global priority
The State of the World’s Children 2008 returns to a theme that marked the launch of the series in the early 1980s: putting children’s survival, health and development first.

Then, as now, UNICEF and its partners aspired to reduce the number of child deaths by about half by a target date.

Then, as now, it proposed simple, effective, low-cost, practical solutions and strategies to reduce child mortality and improve child health.

Now, as then, it is inviting partners from all walks of life – from religious leaders to Goodwill Ambassadors, from mayors to Heads of State, from sports personalities to parliamentarians, from professional associations to trade unions – to join the child survival and development movement.

In order to achieve these objectives, the key stakeholders – governments and communities, donors and international agencies, non-governmental organisations and private sector collaborators—will need to unite their actions and partnerships in support of maternal and child survival and health.

The survival of children must be placed at the heart of global efforts to advance humanity.

Situation in Malaysia






January 2008:
Community programs improving lives of children and mothers around the world.

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State of the World's Children 2008

Millennium Development Goal 4

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Millennium Development Goals


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