- Sep 14, 2012
The health and well-being of children are essential to a sustainable future and critical components of the health of families and communities. Yet every year more than 10 million children, mostly from low- and middle-income countries, die before the age of five. Children who live to reach this milestone age are too often faced with a host of further challenges, including hunger, conflict, poverty, abuse and chronic disease. The tragic loss of children due to avoidable and/or treatable conditions is, therefore, needless. Globally, there have been tangible improvements in child health. These include an overall reduction in child mortality, a halving of diarrhea-related deaths, and a significant reduction in polio, measles and neonatal tetanus cases. However, these gains have not been enjoyed equally; children who live in the poorer countries suffer and die disproportionately from illnesses that are preventable and have been effectively controlled in wealthier countries. Despite improvement in child survival during the previous three decades, millions of children have yet to reap the rewards of health and development promised more than a decade ago during the 1990 World Summit for Children. Child mortality reduction targets for 2000 were met in only 5 of 55 countries.