Lives on the line: An Agenda for Ending Preventable Child Deaths

Report
from Save the Children
Published on 23 Oct 2013 View Original

(Makati, Philippines - October 23, 2013) Dramatic gains in child health in the Philippines now risks progress stalling unless inequality is tackled with urgency, Save the Children says. In its new report released today, 'Lives on the Line', the Philippines was ranked 31 out of 34 on the EVERY ONE Index, which ranks countries based on reduction in child deaths, equity and sustainability.

The Philippines is on track to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing child deaths by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. At the current rate of 1-in-33 children dying before their fifth birthday, the Philippines is closing in on their target of 1-in-38 by 2015. However, the Philippines rates poorly on the equity, which covers wealth, gender and geographical equity in reducing child deaths.

Save the Children's Country Director in the Philippines Anna Lindenfors, said: "We are making historic gains in the fight against child deaths but this headline success also often masks the fact that children living in rural, remote and urban slum areas are being left behind and, in extreme cases, are doing worse."

The report looks at how 75 key countries which account for nearly all maternal and child deaths are progressing towards the UN's MDG on child mortality.

For the first time, the research uncovers not just how quickly countries are reducing child mortality, but also whether progress is equitable - across different social, regional and income groups - and is also sustainable, in terms of political will.

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries in Africa, tops the index thanks to a combination of free health care for pregnant women and children, nutrition programmes and a drive for universal access to basic quality healthcare. Although child mortality remains high, the country has reduced it from 326 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 1990, to 114 deaths per 1,000 in 2012.

This progress demonstrates what can be achieved with the right combination of political commitment, strong policy frameworks that prioritise health and nutrition and coordinated support from donors, national and international partners.

"Leaders must ensure that children of all backgrounds have an equal chance to survive. Political leadership and investments in health care are crucial in making dramatic progress in ending preventable child deaths for good," adds Anna Lindenfors.

While child mortality rates have significantly decreased in the Philippines, the rate of chronic malnutrition among children under five remains worryingly high. One in every 3 Filipino children remains malnourished. Malnourishment is one of the underlying causes of under -five child deaths among children.

Save the Children is calling upon governments to:

Publish and implement costed national healthcare plans that reach every child, including newborns, with the objective of reaching full coverage by 2030.

Launch a national campaign to reduce malnutrition so that every child has the nutrition they need to survive and thrive.

Increase public spending on health.

ENDS For further information please contact:

For details, contact April May H. Sumaylo, Communications Officer for Save the Children in the Philippines at +63 (0)9057487684 or april.sumaylo@savethechildren.org