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Environmental Disease: Saving the Lives of Children Under 5

Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
Publication Date
  • Environews
  • Forum


115N10_Forum_RPP We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) Founder, National Council of Negro Women Environews Forum A 490 VOLUME 115 | NUMBER 10 | October 2007 • Environmental Health Perspectives Saving the Lives of Children Under 5 Save the Children has compiled the first ever league table ranking 60 developing nations in their efforts to preserve the lives of their youngest citizens. This information, pub- lished in the May 2007 report State of the World’s Mothers 2007: Saving the Lives of Children Under 5, illustrates how even the poorest countries can implement effective solutions to prevent untimely child deaths. The table comprises UNICEF data for all countries with at least 50,000 child deaths per year or a rate of 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004, and reflects changes in under-5 mor- tality since 1990. The 60 countries included were home to 75% of the world’s children under age 5 years in that year, and were where 94% of all under-5 deaths occurred. Some countries have made remarkable progress in reducing the number of under-5 deaths. Egypt, for example, achieved a mas- sive 68% reduction, Indonesia 60%, and Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines each around 50%. Thirty-five other countries also have seen improvements. However, 20 coun- tries, including 18 in sub-Saharan Africa, have either seen no improvement or suffered increases. Iraq saw the worst decline in the world—under-5 mortality increased by 150% as a result of the deprivations imposed by civil unrest, sanctions, and war. “The figures show much progress has been made [in many countries], but there is still much to do,” explains David Oot, associate vice president of health at Save the Children. Oot says that if certain simple, low-cost solutions were made avail- able to all children—ensur- ing that a skilled person attended all deliveries, exclusive

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