The world has seen â€śstunningâ€ť gains in child survival and health, according to The New York Timesâ€™ Tina Rosenberg in a recent column citing UNICEFâ€™s work. Her article shares heartening results from a new study called the Global Burden of Disease report. Among them: over the past 20 years, the mortality rate for children under five has dropped worldwide, in some countries by as much as 70 percent.
Rosenberg includes UNICEF figures showing that progress in reducing child mortality is accelerating and also quotes UNICEFâ€™s Mickey Chopra about gains made in poor countries. â€śYou can make quite substantial improvements in child survival without decreasing poverty levels,â€ť Chopra told the Times, later adding: â€śThat means thereâ€™s no excuse for not making faster reductions in child mortality.â€ť
Perhaps the most interesting finding from the study is where the drop in deaths occurred. The biggest decreases came, as Rosenberg points out, from fighting measles, diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and neonatal tetanus. All of these are preventable illnesses, and all are critical fronts in UNICEFâ€™s battle for child survival.
While we are all glad to read about these dramatic improvements, we still have a long way to go. Every year, 7 million children still die from preventable causes. Our goal is to make that number ZERO.