Australia has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In many other countries, giving birth isn’t as safe. About half of 7.6 million under-five deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China. India (22 per cent) and Nigeria (11 per cent) together account for a third of all under-five deaths.
So why is it happening in these parts of the world? Limited government spending on health has clear links with child mortality. Despite the national crises in the worst 30 countries for infant mortality, more than half spend less than 10% of their budget on health.
Developed nations can support better funding for healthcare in the developing world by doing more to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. To make giving birth as safe as it is in Australia, World Vision believes it is crucial that the world focus on two goals in particular: Goal 4 to reduce child mortality by two-thirds, and Goal 5 to improve maternal health.
Overall, progress has been made towards achieving MDG 4. The number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. Nearly 21,000 children under five died every day in 2010 – about 12,000 fewer a day than in 1990.*
However, these global goals are largely off track and will not be met, unless governments take immediate action and prioritise the health needs of women and children.
With the World Bank estimating that without urgent action, as many as 2.8 million additional child deaths could occur between 2009 and 2015, due to a fall in household income and public spending in the poorest countries, a concerted international effort is most definitely needed.
Every mother deserves the right to give birth safely, and for her child to live beyond the first five years of their life. Be part of World Vision’s call for CHILD HEALTH NOW!