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Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Goal 4—Reduce Child Mortality

In the fourth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality.  The UN goal is to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 2009 and 2015.  According to the UN’s most recent report, the number of children who died before their fifth birthday declined by 35 percent between 1990 and 2009 to 8.1 million worldwide. But more than half of these children—4.4 million–were in Sub Saharan Africa, where deaths declined by only 22 percent.

Today in Sub Saharan Africa, one out of every seven children dies before the age of five– a rate that is twice that of other developing regions.  In comparison, one child in 126 dies before the age of five in developed countries.  Diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia are the cause of more than half of deaths of children under age five.

However, progress is being made on a number of fronts. Of the ten counties that have cut child deaths in half during the last decade, four were in Sub Saharan Africa—Uganda, Mozambique, Rwanda, and South Africa. Measles vaccines are now being administered to more than two-thirds of children ages 12-23 months compared to only about half the children in 2000.  And new-born deaths due to unclean deliveries have been eliminated in South Africa, Uganda, Mozambique, and Rwanda.

A number of Aid for Africa’s members are working to reduce child mortality.  In Sudan, Ivory Coast and Mozambique, Aid for Africa member Health Alliance International has been a key driver of these positive changes through its work to help strengthen healthcare systems–including maternal and childcare programs. In Mozambique, Health Alliance has helped integrate HIV services into primary health care facilities thereby increasing the number of pregnant women receiving treatment and greatly reducing the chances of babies contracting the virus from their mothers.

In rural Uganda the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children has set up a health clinic in Bumwalukani in partnership with Aid for Africa member Arlington Academy of Hope, which runs a model school in the town.  The clinic serves the needs of the students and teachers at the school as well as some 10,000 people from surrounding communities.  It is the only medical facility in the area to provide high-quality health care and offering treatment for newborns.

To learn more about our members that are working to improve health care and reduce the number of children who will die before the age of five, visit our list of members providing health and medical services.

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