6.3 million children under age five die each year. On average, that is 17,000 boys and girls dying daily. These lost lives are precious in their own right, precious to their families and precious to God. What is most frustrating is that most of these child deaths are preventable:
- Pregnancy and birth complications are responsible for 44 percent of under-five deaths. In the least developed countries, only 46 percent of births have a skilled birth attendant present.
- Pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria – all preventable – cause the majority of deaths past childbirth
- Hunger and malnutrition are factors in nearly half of all under-five deaths.
For some who survive a hungry childhood, chronic malnutrition leads to “stunting,” a serious and permanent condition that affects brain development and can have lingering effects on health into adult years. One in every five children around the world is stunted due to poor nutrition.
Nearly 800 mothers die in childbirth each day – most because of lack of adequate birthing care. Simple interventions such as support in spacing pregnancies can be life-saving. Studies show that waiting two years between pregnancies significantly reduces the risks of a child or mother dying.
We are making progress: child death rates are half today what they were in 1990. We know what works and we can deliver it:
- Good nutrition for mothers and children in the first 1000 days – from pregnancy through to a child’s 2nd birthday; reaching children with good nutrition in these early days is key to life-long health
- A field-proven “basket of interventions” – simple, cost-effective actions like exclusive breastfeeding, immunizations, vitamin supplements and insecticide-treated bed nets save lives
- Strengthening health and agriculture systems – governments need to invest in strong health care systems that people can access, and food security systems that put healthy food on families’ tables
- Empowering individuals, governments and businesses – constructive advocacy in local communities and here in Canada is key to getting policy change and ensuring governments keep their promises
The Goal of this Campaign
The Government of Canada has been as strong supporter of maternal and child health, committing $6.35 billion in funding over the past five years. These funds are in programs now and are saving and improving hundreds of thousands of lives. But we can never take for granted that this support will continue.
Your voice through the Promise Child Survival campaign helps us demonstrate to government leaders that this is an important issue to Canadians. We need all parties to fully endorse this important aspect of Canada’s foreign policy to ensure its future. The campaign also asks leaders to ensure funding is targeted to support the hardest to reach and most vulnerable women and children.