Friday, September 11, 2015

Child Mortality Rate Halved (But It's Still Not Enough)

A child is given an injection as part of a malaria vaccine trial at a clinic in the Kenya coastal town of Kilifi, November 23, 2010.    REUTERS/Joseph Okanga
Photo: Reuters, Joseph Okanga

Since 1990, the mortality rate of children under the age of five has been cut by 53%. This is a great achievement, but not enough. Around 16,000 children under five still die each day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), have of deaths for children under five occur within the first four weeks of live, underscoring the importance of neonatal health to address health risks such as asphyxia and sepsis, as well as maternal health during and after pregnancy to address breastfeeding and early immunizations.

The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire this year, aimed to cut the death rate by two-thirds. Though this goal was not met, I think that we can learn lessons from halving the rate. Though perhaps overly ambitious in scope, the MDGs gave the research, academic, and policies communities a goal. Using lessons from the past 25 years of the MDGS, we need to develop a new set of goals so that we can address the unnecessary and tragic deaths of our young children.

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