Reducing child mortality is a global health priority that has made significant progress over the past few decades. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the under-five mortality rate has decreased by 59% since 1990, saving millions of children’s lives. However, more work needs to be done, as an estimated 5.9 million children under the age of five died in 2020, mostly from preventable causes. In this article, we’ll explore the strategies, progress, and challenges of reducing child mortality.
Strategies for Reducing Child Mortality
There are several strategies for reducing child mortality, including:
- Improving maternal and child health: This includes increasing access to quality healthcare services, such as prenatal care, skilled birth attendance, and postnatal care. It also involves promoting healthy behaviors, such as breastfeeding and immunization.
- Addressing the social determinants of health: This involves addressing the underlying social and economic factors that contribute to poor health outcomes, such as poverty, gender inequality, and lack of education.
- Strengthening health systems: This involves improving the quality and availability of health care services, as well as addressing health workforce shortages and infrastructure gaps.
Progress in Reducing Child Mortality
The global under-five mortality rate has significantly decreased over the past few decades, from 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 38 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. This progress has been due to several factors, including:
- Increased access to health care services, such as immunization and prenatal care
- Improved nutrition and hygiene practices
- Increased awareness and education about child health and disease prevention
- Improved health system capacity and quality
Challenges in Reducing Child Mortality
Despite the progress made in reducing child mortality, several challenges remain, including:
- Inequities in access to health care services and social determinants of health
- Limited funding and resources for child health programs
- Emerging health threats, such as COVID-19, could reverse progress in child health
- Ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises that disrupt health systems and services
Reducing child mortality is a critical global health priority that requires a multi-faceted approach. By addressing the social determinants of health, improving maternal and child health, and strengthening health systems, we can continue to make progress in reducing child mortality. However, several challenges remain, and sustained investment in child health programs is necessary to ensure that progress continues. Ultimately, every child deserves the chance to grow up healthy and thrive.