Together in the fight against poverty
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

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The challenge

1 000 children around the world under the age of five die every hour.

Yet many of the major causes of these early deaths – pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles – are easily preventable and treatable.

Change can be achieved via measures such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplements, breastfeeding and improved family care.

Our plan: to reduce the mortality rate by two-thirds among young children by 2015.

How are we doing?

how are we doing

Progress has been made. Deaths among children under five fell to 8.8 million in 2008, down from 12.6 million in 1990.

Despite this progress, around 27 countries (the bulk of them in Sub-Saharan Africa) made no headway in reducing childhood deaths and millions of children continue to die each year from pre­ventable causes.

Our action

To reduce child mortality, the EU is helping developing countries to:

  • improve their health systems;
  • develop universal access to care;
  • train qualified staff.

The EU supports action which includes:

  • health services which such as promoting safer water, adequate nutrition and hygienic environments;
  • the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, which vaccinated 3.4 million people;
  • implementation of anti-measles strategies – for example, in Botswana, Malawi and South Africa – which have virtually eradicated deaths from measles since 2000.

Actions to improve nutrition, gender equality, education and household incomes are also necessary.

Quick facts

  • 400 000 children die from malaria each year
  • a child born in a developing country is over 13 times more likely to die during the first five years of their life, than a child born in an industrialised country
  • 9 million children under five die each year, with half of these deaths caused by malnutrition

From the field

Nurse taking a baby’s measurements © European Union, 1995-2010

Improvements to ‘mother and child care’ health services in Uzbekistan (period 2008-2010)

In Uzbekistan, the EU and UNICEF are currently:

  • providing training for 19 000 health professionals; and
  • renovating 17 training centres.

As a result, 14.5 million people will benefit from better-quality health care.

A child carrying a baby on his back © European Union, 1995-2010

Reducing the burden of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Kebbi State (Nigeria)

The EU is helping to strengthen the immunisation of children in Nigeria. The project supports the authorities by:

  • improving  the management of vaccination services;
  • increasing community participation in, and acceptance of, research; and
  • providing training for health professionals.

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