UNICEF Combatting child mortality

Sierra Leone: About 19,000 children under the age of five die every day, mainly from preventable causes. More than 70 per cent are attributable to six causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates. Two-thirds of deaths occur in just 10 countries. And the majority are preventable.  Some of the deaths occur from illnesses like measles, malaria or tetanus. Others result indirectly from marginalization, conflict and HIV/AIDS. Malnutrition and the lack of safe water and sanitation contribute to half of all these children’s deaths. But disease isn’t inevitable, nor do children with these diseases need to die. Research and experience show that six million children who die each year could be saved by low-tech, evidence-based, cost-effective measures such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, insecticide-treated bed nets and improved family care and breastfeeding practices.