The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported today that child mortality had fallen over the past two decades to 65 per 1,000 live births. That is indeed good news! This is quite an improvement from 1990, when 93 out of every 1,000 children under the age of 5 died.
So what has the global community done to help bring the child mortality rate down? An article in The New York Times entitled Child Mortality Rate Declines Globally mentions some of the reasons for the improvements
"The child mortality rate has declined...in large part because of the widening distribution of relatively inexpensive technologies like measles vaccines and ant-malaria nets.
Other simple practices have helped, public health experts say, including a rise in breast feeding alone for the first six months of life, which protects children from diarrhea caused by dirty water."
The Times said the global community has also come through with funding, with wealthy nations, international agencies and philantropists like Bill and Melinda Gates contributing billions of dollars to the effort.
"School children and church groups have also pitched in, paying for mosquito nets and feeding programs," said the article.
Is it possible to meet Goal 4 of the Millennium Development Goals? The goal is to reduce child mortality to 31 out of every 1,000 live births by 2015. The answer is a resounding yes if the global community continues its support for measures that have worked well thus far.