UNICEF Annual Report 2015: The Importance of the 5th Birthday
Submitted by Dana McLaughlin on August 8, 2016
When a child is born, he or she immediately needs several required things in order to grow and thrive. Nourishment. Healthcare. Love. But too often in the world today, these most basic necessities and fundamental rights of children around the world are suspended amidst crisis, poverty, natural disaster, and violence.
For the past 10 years, Nothing But Nets has worked with our UN partners to provide one of the most fundamental tools to protect moms and babies at risk of malaria – life-saving bed nets.
One of those partners is UNICEF, which works to ensure that children around the world are nurtured, protected, and supported from the moment they are born. This challenge has been the cornerstone of UNICEF’s work for over 70 years.
UNICEF's long-lasting commitment to the health and well-being of children is reinforced by the Sustainable Development Goals, and its work will ensure we achieve those goals to see a world where all children grow up and fulfill their potential. In its recently released 2015 Annual Report, UNICEF highlights the multi-faceted nature of global efforts to protect the health and safety of millions of children who live in the epicenters of injustice.
The report highlights specific issues that range from early childhood development and gender equality, to birth registration and school completion. In 2015 alone, 25.5 million people gained access to water and 23 million children were given measles vaccinations. An estimated 6.2 million lives have been saved from malaria since 2000.
But while we have seen so much progress, there is work still to be done.
Children are still dying every day from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, which are reported as the three deadliest diseases that systematically burden the everyday health of the world's poorest children.
In fact, according to UNICEF’s 2015 Annual Report:
- Of all under-five deaths, 45% occur in the first 28 days of life.
- In 2015, despite dramatic gains in child survival, an estimated 5.9 million children still did not live to see their fifth birthday.
- The number of children who died before turning five fell by more than 50% worldwide between 1990 and 2015. However, an average of 16,000 children under the age of five died every day in 2015.
UNICEF has continued to decrease the burden of these three disease by strengthening community platforms that allow for delivery of vital treatment services to children who otherwise who have limited access to such fundamental services.
One widely adopted model is an Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) that enlarges the supervision and delivery of care for childhood illness beyond traditional health facilities. Not only does this extend access to lifesaving treatments for diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, but it also engages community health workers by training them in identification tactics, diagnosis tests, and treatment options for children in severe need of care.
According to UNICEF’s report, "28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were implementing integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) for all three diseases, and more than 82,000 community health workers were trained in iCCM through UNICEF country programmes during the year."
Such initiatives are making strides in reducing the number of children, especially those under the age of five, who die from completely treatable and preventable diseases.
Keeping a child healthy and safe throughout the first five years of life is the cornerstone that will ensure that every child has the future he or she deserves. After all – no child should die of a mosquito bite, or of any preventable and treatable disease.