Latest stories

Press releases & statements


World Unites to Accelerate Progress in Ending Preventable Child Deaths

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1795/​Pirozzi
How have we achieved such rapid progress in child survival? High-impact interventions and tools like new vaccines and improved health care.

World Unites to Accelerate Progress in Ending Preventable Child Deaths

Washington, D.C. – Four Pacific Island Countries (Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea) will be part of the Child Survival Call to Action forum which brings together 700 leaders and global experts to launch a sustained effort to save children’s lives.

The Call to Action has been convened by the governments of the United States, India and Ethiopia in collaboration with UNICEF and will take place in Washington D.C. 14-15 June.

The untold story of child survival is that the global community now has the combined knowledge, innovations, technical know-how and affordable tools to end preventable child deaths. Over the past 40 years new vaccines, improved health care practices, investments in education, and the dedication of governments, civil society and other partners have contributed to reducing the number of child deaths by more than 50 per cent.

Still, millions of children – most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – die every year from largely preventable causes before reaching their fifth birthdays. In 2010, this translated to 57 children dying for every 1,000 live births.

“The four Pacific Island Countries attending the forum have under-five mortality rates above 30 per 1,000 live births. However, they must be commended for their promotion of cost-effective and proven interventions such as the use of oral rehydration therapy to control diarrhoea and antibiotic treatment for suspected pneumonia,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Isiye Ndombi.

The Call to Action challenges the world to reduce child mortality to 20 or fewer child deaths per 1,000 live births in every country by 2035. Reaching this historic target will save an additional 45 million children’s lives by 2035, bringing the world closer to the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths.

“In 1990, nine Pacific Island Countries had under-five mortality rates above 30 per 1,000 live births. Since 2010, the number of countries has been reduced to five. In 20 years, the Pacific has managed to dramatically reduce child mortality.” said Dr. Ndombi. “The focus now is on reducing deaths in the first months of life.”

At the Call to Action, governments and partners are being asked to pledge their support for A Promise Renewed , a commitment to work together on sharpening national plans for child survival, monitoring results, and focusing greater attention on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

“We have the tools, the treatments, and the technology to save millions of lives every year, and there is no excuse not to use them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “To renew our promise to the world’s children, we have to focus on the leading causes of child mortality like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, scaling up coverage of high-impact, low-cost treatments, sparking greater innovation, and spurring greater political will to reach the hardest to reach children. The grand goal of preventing child deaths must be our common cause.”

“Every child deserves to celebrate their 5th birthday. The poorest and most disadvantaged children are still missing out on life-saving health services and are dying every day of completely treatable and preventable diseases. Today, leaders and global experts have renewed their commitment to child health, and we must all hold ourselves accountable for achieving greater progress on this critical challenge. I believe we can and will end preventable child deaths together.” Said Dr. Ndombi

The two days of events will be Livestreamed at:

Twitter hashtag: #Promise4Children

B-roll and events of the day will be recorded, packaged, and delivered on:

Updates and photos will be posted on the Facebook page at:

For further information or requests, please contact:
Peter Smerdon, UNICEF New York, Tel. + 1212 303 7984, Mobile +1 917 213
Sarah Crowe, Spokesperson for the Executive Director, 1 212 326 7206

Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific, +679 3300 439, Mobile +679 9265 518



 Email this article

unite for children