Although Bangladesh has made significant achievements in reducing child mortality in the last decades, almost 250,000 children under-5 die yearly from preventable diseases. Fifty-seven percent of under five deaths occur in the newborn period.
Once they are out of the newborn period, diarrhea (20 percent) and pneumonia (18 percent) are the biggest threats to children’s survival. Aside from these direct causes of under-5 mortality, malnutrition is the chief underlying cause contributing to 22 percent of under-5 deaths.
Moreover, there are various structural causes, such as the lack of a proper and comprehensive policy and programmatic response to tackle child hunger and equity, weak health systems, poor maternal health, vulnerability to natural disasters and low involvement of male decision makers that continue to obstruct the full realisation of MDG 4 (reduce child mortality by two thirds) in Bangladesh.
To combat this problem, Save the Children will run a world-wide campaign for the next 5 years to ensure that MDG 4 is met. It will invites all concerned agencies—the government, civil society, health workers, media, youth, affluent families and affected families—to give every child an equal chance to survive.
Around the world almost 9 million children die from preventable causes before getting a chance to celebrate their 5th birthday—that is one child every three seconds. The campaign aimed at helping 10 million children to survive, develop and grow to their full potential where primary focus will be the poorest, most marginalised and most vulnerable children in areas with the highest rates of newborn and child mortality.
The deaths of children are not random events beyond our control. They are an outcome of the decisions we take as a nation. They are also influenced by cultural, economic, environmental, political and social factors that governments, international institutions, the private sector and civil society could help shape or mitigate.
Every child—no matter where or to whom they are born—has an equal right and deserves an equal chance to survive. And every one of us has a responsibility to act. Saving children’s lives is no longer just up to health professionals and the governments, but that every one of us has a role to play here.
Source: The Daily Star, April 10, 2010