More needs to be done to end preventable under five deaths 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

14th March, 2024 - World Vision celebrates the fantastic news that global annual under-five mortality has now dropped below five million children per year.  This progress is a testament to the effectiveness of proven and simple primary health care interventions, such as immunisation, use of insecticide treated bed-nets, and the promotion of young child nutrition. The news is especially welcome as we have noted regressions in some health service provision and uptake associated with the COVID pandemic, and financial crises. It appears that there is some resilience in the primary health care foundations invested in recent decades. 

At the same time, we remain indignant with the continuing gravity of 4.9 million preventable young children’s deaths. The tragedy for these children, and the anguish for their families and communities is deeply heart-breaking.  No child should perish from a preventable or treatable condition like low birth weight, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea or wasting.  It is appalling that we continue to allow a gross inequity of primary health care service coverage to leave so many children vulnerable to these outcomes. Every child has a human right to accessible, affordable, quality primary health care services, and they need it urgently.   

We know what is needed to prevent this egregious mortality, the sum of which exceeds the fatality of all the recent global conflicts put together, in one year.  Basic services must be extended to the most vulnerable children and their families – services like immunisation, essential nutrition actions, and the integrated management of childhood illness. This requires more health workers, improved supply chains, more infrastructure, the leverage of technology, better information systems.  Upstream, it requires an essential commitment from duty bearers to get the job done, prioritise the finance, and improve efficiency.  More simply put, it requires people to care about our children, and our future. 


Notes to Editor: 

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. In Africa, we operate as three regions - East, West and Southern Africa - in 27 countries. For more information, please visit or follow us on X @WorldVision   

For further information please contact: Niamh Cooper, Director of Public Engagement +353 87 942 3371