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Reduce Child Mortality: MDG 4


  • Between 1990 and 2008, child mortality in developing countries dropped from 100 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Of the 67 countries defined as having high child mortality rates, only 10 are currently on track to meet the MDG target.

Since 1990, child mortality has been cut by more than half in North Africa, East and West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Yet in other regions, notably sub-Saharan Africa, little to no progress has been made in recent years.


In 2009, the Council held its Annual Ministerial Review on the theme of global public health. Ministers from 7 countries ―  Bolivia, China, Jamaica, Japan, Mali, Sri Lanka, Sudan ― delivered “National Voluntary Presentations”, which detailed their countries’ recent efforts to improve public health (including child health), while offering case studies on successful initiatives. Countries also adopted a strong “Ministerial Declaration”, highlighting key policies to promote healthier societies.

UN System

  • In 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with leaders from governments, foundations, NGOs and business, launched the “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health”, a series of simple steps to improve women’s and children’s health ― measures which, if implemented, could save 16 million lives by 2015.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with governments, provides high-impact, cost-effective health and nutrition interventions to reduce the number of neonatal and early childhood deaths from preventable and easily treatable causes. UNICEF purchases vaccines, negotiates favourable prices and forecasts vaccine requirements to ensure sustainable supplies. When delivering vaccines, UNICEF adds micronutrient supplements to offset malnutrition, another critical factor in child survival.
  • Working with governments, health providers and communities in the field, UNICEF also helps families learn essential skills and basic health knowledge, such as best practices in breastfeeding and complementary feeding, hygiene and safe faeces disposal.

Further reading…