Join UNICEF’s global campaign to reduce child mortality

July 28, 2014

Join UNICEF’s global campaign to reduce child mortality 

According to the reports, an estimated 29,000 children under the age of five die every day. That’s 21 every minute. Most of these deaths occur in third world countries and are due to preventable causes.

Hannah with one of the local children from the orphanage. Considering the huge advancements in medicine that have been made in recent years, statistics such as these are unacceptable and have sparked off several campaigns that aim to reduce these numbers.  Progress is being made but ongoing statistics reveal that efforts have to be stepped up tremendously before a significant change can be seen.

For several years now, UNICEF has been spearheading the global campaign to reduce child mortality around the world. Child survival lies at the heart of everything that this organisation has been doing. Their target is to reduce child mortality by at least two-thirds by 2015. It is by any standard a very ambitious goal and to achieve this, they need qualified and committed healthcare professionals, particularly skilled midwives, qualified paediatricians and public health care nurses.

The reality of healthcare in third world countries

  • More than 70% of almost 11 million child deaths every year can be attributed to 6 main causes: malaria, diarrhoea, preterm delivery, neonatal infection, lack of oxygen at birth or pneumonia.
  • The majority of these deaths occur mainly in the developing world.  A child born in Ethiopia is 30 times more likely to die by his or her 5th birthday than a child born in a Western European country.
  • Two-thirds of children deaths occur in just 10 countries, with Sub-Saharan Africa having the highest child death rate.
  • The majority of child deaths are preventable.  Some of the deaths are caused by illnesses such as malaria, measles or tetanus. Other deaths result indirectly due to conflict, marginalisation and HIV/AIDS.  Malnutrition and the lack of safe water and sanitation contribute to almost 50% of all these child deaths.

Whatever the disease, these children did not need to die. Experience coupled with research done by the major global health organisations show that an estimated 65% of the almost 11 million children who die every year could have been saved. What’s more, saving them would not be an expensive undertaking. What is required to save children’s lives in these countries is low-tech, cost-effective measures such as distribution of antibiotics, administration of vaccines, micronutrient supplementation, improved breastfeeding practices, distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and improved family care. 

These measures form the basis for UNICEF’s actions to help children from developing countries survive and they are being carried out by the organisation’s highly trained staff, volunteers and allies all over the world.