The number of children who die before their fifth birthday is one of the best barometers of global social and economic progress. In 2000, the world’s governments committed themselves to make a two-thirds reduction in the child mortality rate by 2015 – the fourth of eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But with five years to go before the target date, the world is collectively off track to reach MDG 4. Just 40% of the necessary progress has been achieved so far, and in three-quarters of countries the goal will be missed on current trends.
This new report from Save the Children, A Fair Chance at Life, draws attention to one of the most pressing development challenges of our age – the toll of preventable child deaths in the world’s poorest countries, which in 2008 claimed nearly 9 million lives. This is a scandalous waste of human potential, and a cause of enormous suffering to the families and communities that are affected.