Thousands of babies are still dying daily from preventable causes – and pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition are killing millions of under-fives in the developing world.
Progress is being made on young children’s health, with the under-five mortality rate almost cut in half since 2000. But sadly millions will still never reach their fifth birthday.
In fact, children in sub-Saharan Africa are 10 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in high-income countries.
A staggering 5.6 million children under five year last year – 15,000 per day – according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And many of these deaths could have been prevented.
These shocking figures show the importance of good health practices in the birth process and the care of young children.
Nurturing care includes access to health care plus clean water and sanitation – starting with ante- and postnatal visits for pregnant women, a skilled birth attendant and vaccinations.
Health care is one of the five key areas of Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign, which calls on world leaders to invest in early childhood development and pre-primary education.
While newborns are at the greatest rink, infants who survive into toddlerhood are then at risk from malnutrition, diarrhea and other treatable diseases.
Vaccinations, better sanitation and clean water – things the developed world takes for granted – would all save lives. Pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria accounted for almost one-third of deaths among under-fives globally.
In Yemen, UNICEF reported today that suspected cholera and acute watery diarrhea have affected over one million people – with children under five accounting for a quarter of all cases.
The Born Into War report added: “Women who became pregnant during the first 1000 days of war have given birth in deplorable conditions, without access to proper medical care, clean water and or a hygienic environment for delivery.
“Many mothers are malnourished and ill themselves, increasing their risk of dying or giving birth to premature and malnourished babies who do not make it beyond the first month of their life.”