Let the Children Live: A Promise Renewed



Did you know that in 2010 7.6 million children died before reaching the age of five from causes that we have the power to prevent?

The optimists among us will point out that child mortality has dramatically decreased over the past two decades (In 1990, more than 12 million had died). According to Gabriel Demombynes, an economist in the World Bank's Nairobi office, quoted inThe Economist, the decline in African child mortality is “a tremendous success- story that has only barely been recognized.” The World Bank reports that many countries in Africa recorded impressive falls in their child-mortality rates. For instance, Senegal cut its rate (the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births) from 121 to 72 in five years while it took India 25 years to make that reduction, notes the Economist.

But we can do much better than that….On June 14th, a number of countries will meet in Washington DC to renew the promise to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015 and UNICEF will support a campaign entitled “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed.” According to UNICEF, “We have the technology, the know-how and the responsibility to fulfill our promise to give all children, rich or poor, a fair opportunity to survive and thrive.”

Here are some facts to keep in mind when it comes to child survival

• In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 8 children dies before age five, which is more than 20 times the average for industrialized countries (1 in 167) and South Asia (1 in 15)

• About half of under-five deaths occur in only 5 five countries: India, Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China

• India (22 percent) and Nigeria (11 per cent) account for a third of all under-five deaths

• The four major killers of children under age five are:

-pneumonia (18%)

-diarrheal diseases (15%)

-preterm birth complications (12%)

-birth asphyxia (9%)

• Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa still causes 16 per cent of the deaths

• Under nutrition is an underlying cause in more than a third of the deaths

It’s not rocket science. These diseases can be treated and some solutions are quite simple. According to the Economist, Kenya, simply by increasing the use of mosquito nets treated with insecticide (mosquitoes carry malaria) from 8 percent of all households in 2003 to 60 percent in 2008, managed to drastically cut its rate of infant mortality (deaths of children under one year old). This study also points out that an Insecticide-treated bets efficacy trial conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Kenya showed a 33 percent reduction in child mortality.

Join us in renewing our promise to let the children live their lives…

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0156/Quarmyn

comments powered by Disqus