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Child Deaths Fall Below 10 Million For First Time
Date:9/13/2007

UNICEF Reports Solid Progress on Child Survival

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Global child deaths have reached a record low, falling below 10 million per year to 9.7 million, down from almost 13 million in 1990, according to UNICEF.

"This is an historic moment," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. "Now we must build on this public health success to push for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals."

Among these goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, is a commitment to a two-thirds reduction in child mortality between 1990 and 2015, a result which would save an additional 5.4 million children by 2015.

However, Veneman pointed out that there is no room for complacency. "The loss of 9.7 million young lives each year is unacceptable. Most of these deaths are preventable and, as recent progress shows, the solutions are tried and tested. We know that lives can be saved when children have access to integrated, community-based health services."

Twenty-five years ago, UNICEF envisioned and launched its "Child Survival and Development Revolution" aimed at sharply reducing childhood death, disease and disability in the developing world. UNICEF insisted that simple, low cost interventions such as immunization, exclusive breastfeeding and growth monitoring, when taken to mass scale, could yield dramatic gains for child survival.

This first-of-its-kind effort was highly controversial within and outside of the organization. Critics argued it was naive, impossible and too simplistic. UNICEF pushed ahead, enlisting the support of hundreds of NGOs, individuals, governments and others in the "revolution." As a result of these partnerships and years of quiet effort, children today are more than twice as likely to survive past the age of five than they were forty years ago.

"Thanks in large part to many outstanding partnerships and the extraordina
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SOURCE US Fund for UNICEF
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