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Child health and mortality

Goal 4 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

What is child mortality?

Child mortality, in this case, is the number of deaths per 1000 children under the age of 5.

Statistics

According to UNICEF, “Most child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, pre-term delivery or lack of oxygen at birth.” Further, most of these deaths take place in the developing world. Modern public health efforts and medical technologies have largely eliminated the threats of disease and premature birth in the developed world.

This is abundantly clear when looking at the countries where child mortality is highest and lowest:

Bottom 5 -

  1. Chad – 209 deaths by age 5 per 1000 live births
  2. Afghanistan – 199 deaths
  3. Democratic Republic of the Congo – 199 deaths
  4. Guinea-Bissau – 193 deaths
  5. Sierra Leone – 192 deaths

Top 5 -

  1. Japan, Singapore, Cyprus, Finland, Iceland, Slovenia, and Sweden – 3 deaths
  2. Luxembourg and San Marino – 2

The average for countries in the America’s is 18, in Europe it is 13. In Africa, the country average number of child deaths by age 5 is 127!

(via World Health Statistics 2011 report)

What is being done

Fortunately progress is being made on several fronts to improve the health of children under 5 around the globe. Some of this progress is at a very structural level, increasing funding for hospitals and medical clinics to ensure emergency care is necessary in acute cases of illness. Some progress is also being made in vaccination programs, working to eliminate diseases like measles and polio through coordinated vaccine programs.

For more information, and a few laughs, take a look at Hans Rosling’s TEDxChange talk from September of 2010 about progress being made on Goal 4.

 

How you can help

Here are a list of Jolkona projects that are working toward achieving Goal 4

  1. Save a Young Child from Diarrhea in India
  2. Adopt a Mother in India
  3. Provide Maternal and Child Healthcare in Guatemala

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