Policy and Advocacy

Improve Child Health

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Child Health
Men in Pakistan join the Global Week of Action as part of World Vision's Child Health Now campaign.

The Issue

In 2011, 6.9 million children under 5 died from preventable causes like diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, with nearly 2.2 million newborns dying within the first week of life. It is also estimated that 273,500 women die each year due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The ultimate tragedy of these deaths is that we have the knowledge and technology to prevent them. Proven, cost-effective interventions like vaccinations, nutritious food, and antibiotics are used daily in Canada, but they are still not reaching and saving the lives of the most vulnerable children in poverty and mothers in developing countries.

Yet, the world has seen that progress is possible. Over 700,000 more children survived past their fifth birthday in 2011 than did in 2010. And if we look back to 1990 the comparison is more remarkable with over 5 million more children living past their fifth birthday in 2011 than did in 1990.  Global efforts work, but our job is not done. Together, we can save the lives of these children and mothers.

Fast Facts
  • Globally, 2.2 million newborns die within the first week of life; that’s roughly the equivalent of every child 14 and under in Ontario;
  • Nearly one in five children in Sierra Leone and Somalia die before they reach the age of five;
  • Half of all child deaths under five years old occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China;
  • Official development assistance (ODA) for maternal, newborn and child health accounts for only 4.7% of all global aid (2010).
What World Vision is Doing 
 
World Vision believes that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy.  We launched a five-year global campaign, Child Health Now, in 2009, to help save and improve the lives of women and children.

In the lead-up to the 2010 G8 Summit in Ontario, thousands of Canadians supported World Vision and our partner organizations in calling for our world leaders to make the health of women and children a high priority.  
Canada led the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) resulting in a total commitment of $7.3 billion to mobilize global action to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries; Canada alone committed $1.1 billion, in addition to the 1.75 billion ongoing MNCH spending, to total $2.85 billion to help children and their families survive and thrive.

At that time, World Vision also joined a wide range of governments, aid organizations, and developing countries to support the launch of a
Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health at the United Nations General Assembly. $40 billion USD in commitments were made toward child and maternal health as part of this Global Strategy.


These major commitments must now be fully delivered. World Vision is closely following the Muskoka Initiative and the Global Strategy, working with the Canadian government and partner organizations to ensure that Canada keeps its promise to bring real change for women and children, now and in future.


World Vision is also giving $1.5 billion from 2010-2015 toward the Global Strategy, strengthening our activities like:
  • training front-line health workers
  • ensuring that children are fully immunized
  • educating families about healthy foods for children, including breastfeeding
  • improving access to safe, potable water and education about basic hygiene
  • empowering communities to ask their governments for better access to basic health care.

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