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Majority of preventable child deaths occur in middle-income countries, new World Vision report shows


• Aid agency says reaching the most vulnerable, wherever they are, is key to reducing child mortality.
• New report by World Vision shows 42 percent reduction in child deaths over 22 years, but UN child mortality goal is 15 years off track.
• Report says political action for most vulnerable will save more than four million children each year.

Washington, DC — In a new report, launched on World Pneumonia Day, World Vision says more than 4.4 million are killed each year by six of the most preventable causes, and the majority of these are happening in middle-income countries.

“Child mortality is not an issue that is unique to only developing countries. The bulk of preventable child deaths happen in countries that have the resources to put an end to this injustice,” says World Vision’s international campaigns director, Andrew Hassett. “At the current rate, there will be almost 100 million preventable child deaths in the next 20 years if political action is not accelerated.”

The report, “Never Had A Chance: Why millions of children still die needlessly every year” (PDF) highlights the six main killers of children under the age of five, and the governmental action needed to save more than four million lives each year.

Each year:

• Preterm complications kill one million children
• Pneumonia kills one million children
• Newborn infections kill 700,000 children
• Diarrhoea kills 700,000 children
• Birth complications kill 600,000 children
• Malaria kills 500,000 children

These killers are neither surprising nor complicated, the report says. Pneumonia, for example, can be bacterial or viral, but both types are generally preventable through good nutrition, hygiene and appropriate care for children.

Over the past 22 years, significant progress has been made with a 42 percent reduction in the number of children under the age of five dying each year.

“But this is not good enough for the millions who could be saved every year,” says Hassett. “The UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce child deaths by two thirds by 2015 is off target by 15 years, and what makes this even more tragic is that it’s entirely preventable.

“Unlike some of the other MDGs, we have all the tools and knowledge needed to meet the goal of reducing child mortality, so there is no justifiable reason for this goal to be so far off track. Some governments who have pledged to slash mortality rates are dragging their heels, and the time we’re losing means lost lives.”

Notes to editors:

• From November 13-20, World Vision is running its first Global Week of Action, a mobilization designed to increase attention on the urgent need to end preventable deaths of children under five around the world. An anticipated two million people are expected to take action to show they care about all children surviving to the age of five.
• World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
• Child Health Now is World Vision’s five-year global campaign calling to end all preventable deaths of children under five that we believe are preventable. Our campaign is calling on governments, communities and supporters to play their part in a global movement that ensures children have good access to nutritious food, clean water, and life-saving health services.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injutice. We serve the world’s poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews


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