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MDG 4 – Reduce Infant Mortality Rate

Progress has already been made

It’s easy to think that reducing child mortality is beyond your control. To assume that the problem is simply too big. That even the most powerful charities and organisations can’t stop children dying, so why should you bother? But none of that is true.

Since 1990, the mortality rate for children under-5 has dropped by 30 per cent, according to the World Health Organization. That means an estimated nine million children who would have died from completely preventable diseases are alive today and it’s a result of initiatives created by the UN and humanitarian groups. Moreover, it’s thanks to people across our world who didn’t baulk because this Millennium Development Goal simply seemed too hard.

More commitment is required

Of course, more needs to be done. The UN hopes to cut the child morality rate by two-thirds by the end of 2015. To save millions more children from malaria, measles, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition – the underlying cause in more than half (53 per cent) of the 10.5 million child deaths each year – will require greater investment and support.

Success stories

But several regions in Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia have seen child mortality consistently decline by more than 4 per cent each year since the MDGs were set in 2000. With the help of donor aid and UN organisations, the Eritrean government began working aggressively to reduce child morality through vaccinations. In 1991 only 9.6 per cent of Eritrean children were vaccinated, now, according to UN figures, that number has risen to 76 per cent.

There are success stories like the one in Eritrea all over our world. Every day more and more children gain access to life saving immunisation. Every day more and more children are saved from malnutrition. The deaths are going down. There is no reason why we should give up hope. If we work together, we can achieve this goal. We can reduce child mortality.

Article written by Elisa Scarton

One Response to “MDG 4 – Reduce Infant Mortality Rate”

  1. Lisa Amir
    29. Aug, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    One important way to decrease infant mortality (and morbidity) is to promote exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding to 12 months, could prevent 13% of child deaths in a hypothetical year (Jones et al, Lancet 2003). In comparison, other individual interventions could each prevent less than 5% of child deaths. See Beasley and Amir 2007, International Breastfeeding Journal.

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