Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, released the following statement on the new report on child survival released today by UNICEF:
“Today brings welcome news: The number of children dying before the age of five decreased from an estimated 12.6 million children in 1990 to 6.6 million last year – an almost 50 percent reduction. This is a major achievement in global health and a significant milestone for the international community and most importantly, for millions of children who will celebrate their fifth birthday.
“The hard work of the United Nations and partners around the world has been instrumental to this progress. In particular, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has provided critical leadership, launching three years ago his Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health and the Every Woman Every Child movement, which has helped coordinate a lot of the work and progress that is happening today.
“However, our work is far from over, and in fact, must be accelerated to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the rate of under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015. It’s unacceptable for children to die from easily preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria because they don’t have access to the solutions that could save their lives.
“We know what works. From access to immunizations, giving oral rehydration salts and zinc to counter diarrhea, improving hygiene and access to safe drinking water, and sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria, we can help save the lives of an estimated 35 million children between 2015 and 2028 if we act now.
“The UN and its partners have the tools, technology, and teams on the ground to get lifesaving interventions to the children who need them most. Yet we need strong commitments and political will to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and give children the chance at life they deserve.
“The UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation has pulled together an important progress report that examines global trends and sets a bold course of action to accelerate progress. Additionally, as part of the Child Survival: A Promise Renewed global movement to end preventable child deaths, 176 governments have stepped up and signed a pledge to make children’s health a priority. Their work will help spur future improvements.
“Millions of children are counting on us to step up. Working together, let us build on the progress of recent decades and end preventable child deaths. Our children deserve no less.”