Some Good News for Children

December 21, 2012
The world has seen “stunning” gains in child survival and health, according to The New York Times’ Tina Rosenberg in a recent column citing UNICEF’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.
Children get vaccinated in Côte d Ivoire Children line up to be vaccinated against yellow fever in the northern district of Séguéla, in Côte d'Ivoire. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0049/Olivier Asselin

Rosenberg includes UNICEF figures showing that progress in reducing child mortality is accelerating and also quotes UNICEF’s Mickey Chopra about gains made in poor countries. “You can make quite substantial improvements in child survival without decreasing poverty levels,” Chopra told the Times, later adding: “That means there’s no excuse for not making faster reductions in child mortality.” 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 UNICEF’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. To read The New York Times article, click here. And to help UNICEF reach ZERO, visit our donation page.