World Vision reacts to UNICEF Child Survival report

By Boaz Wadel

NEW YORK, 13 September 2013 - A World Vision report says millions of children are being denied the benefits of progress because many countries have unacceptable "health gaps," despite the fact UNICEFExternal Link is reporting child mortality rates have been almost cut in half, to 6.6 million per year, since 1990.  According to the report titled, "The Killer Gap:  a Global Index of Health Inequality for Children" a huge gap in health services still impacts survival of millions of children under the age of five even though. 

"In achieving this and tackling global poverty and poor health, governments and organizations have reached those who are easiest to get to, but in many cases this has meant a devastating increase in the gap in access to health care between the 'health rich' and 'health poor,' with the most vulnerable children bearing the brunt," said Charles Badenoch, Vice President of Advocacy and Justice for Children at World Vision. "The aggregated numbers and averages generally used to assess global and national progress in achieving theMillennium Development GoalsExternal Link have meant that some countries have been able to achieve their targets without addressing the needs of their most vulnerable children."

Bangladesh and Peru, two of only eight developing countries to achieve Millennium Development Goal #4External Link (to reduce child deaths by two-thirds by 2015) come in at rank 128 and 98 respectively, pointing to an unacceptably high number of unreached and marginalized children without good access to the health care that brings down mortality rates.

The top three reasons children fall through the cracks are:

  • Children not registered at birth are invisible to the system.  More than 50% of children under five are unregistered and have no access to health services.
  • Refugee children, displaced due to conflict or fragile contexts.  About half of the 45.1 million people displaced in 2012 are children.
  • Children with disabilities are hidden away and denied health access in some communities because of shame and fear of social stigma. 
  • Other children in the gap are vulnerable to child labor or trafficking, orphans and children who lose their mothers at childbirth.


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