Child Survival is Your Responsibility Too

A promise made.  A promise renewed.  A global movement to end preventable child deaths.  In collaboration with the UNICEF, A Promise Renewed was the outcome of the Child Survival Call to Action in June 2012 between the governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States.  Since then, over 700 governments, civil societies, and private-sector participants have committed their desire to work on child survival in conjunction with the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative.

As part of this Child Survival Call to Action, the UNICEF has released its annual report on child survival entitled Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed.  This report includes the trends and levels in under-five deaths over the past two decades, causes of child mortality, the interventions to lower child mortality, and global and national initiatives to reduce child mortality.  Think of it as a child morality report card.

Child survival is a shared responsibility. Every segment of society has a role to play.

~Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director

Consider this:

  • In 1990, the under-five mortality rate was 90 deaths per 1,000 live births.  In 2012, it was 48 deaths per 1,000 births.
  • The estimated annual number of under-five deaths has been reduced from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.
  • 17,000 fewer children died each day in 2012 than 1990
  • Since 1990, 216 million children have died before their fifth birthday.  This is more than the current population of Brazil, which is the world’s fifth most populated country.

Earlier this month, Melinda Gates posted on the Impatient Optimists Blog about this very issue.  She describes her two favorite passions: children and statistics.  And, while 6.6 million children is 6.6 million too many, she puts it into perspective:

But before we move on to the detailed conversations about how to get the number even lower next year, let’s celebrate the beautiful, simple fact that it’s lower again this year. Let’s celebrate this new world record in the most important category there is.

~Melinda Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

I also want you to consider this:  it doesn’t matter the poverty level of these children.  Ethiopia has already reduced their child mortality rate by two-thirds.  And, they are one of the poorest countries in the world.  How did they do it?  With family planning, better health care, immunizations, and education on better health habits.


5,000 children die each day, most from two easily preventable diseases: pneumonia and diarrhea.

5,000 children each day.

I just want you to think about that statistic for a second.

5,000 children.

So, what can you do to help?

I encourage you to start by reading Melinda Gates’ post on the Impatient Optimists blog.

Also, read the UNICEF progress report on child survival.

Then, go check out the Global Newborn Action website to learn more.

Every year, the child mortality rate has decreased.  But, 6.6 million is still too high.

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  1. Thank you for writing about this monumentally important subject. As Melinda Gates said, it’s the most important statistic of all: who is living. I love that Bill and Melinda Gates have wholeheartedly put their wealth to work in such a powerful and effective way.

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