The Lottery of Birth report: All children must have equal chance to survive
In the last 25 years the world has made great strides in reducing infant mortality with the numbers dying before their fifth birthday dropping from 12 million in 1990 to 6.3 million today. However, progress is uneven. Save the Children's new report, The Lottery of Birth, finds that in too many countries many children are being left behind on the basis of where they are born and who they are born to. In many places this inequality is getting worse.
For example in 2012, a child born in one region of Niger was nearly five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than a child in the region with the best survival rates. This inequality has doubled since 1998.
In Indonesia, a child born in the poorest 40% of households in 2012 was nearly 2.5 times more likely to die than a child in the richest 10%.
Thankfully, this inequality isn't rising in all countries. Some have managed not only to reduce child mortality but have done so for all parts of society. And when policies to help disadvantaged groups are followed, such as health systems that put the needs of the poorest first, the rate of progress is accelerated for everyone.
In September, world leaders are meeting at a crucial UN Summit which will set the development goals for the next 15 years. It's critical that they set targets and help fund programmes that address the inequality gap between region and rich and poor in developing countries. The prize if they do is great. We could be the generation that sees no child die from hunger or illnesses we know how to cure. And this could happen by 2030.
Watch this film that explains the current scenario around the world.
An example of positive change in Rwanda
Life can be tough for Modeste and her husband, who live in Burera district, Rwanda. They are farmers, with a small plot of land and eight children to bring up, and money is tight. But ill health is one thing that they don’t have to worry about as much anymore.
The introduction of a new national health insurance system - Mutuelles de Santé - is a key factor in this change for the better. In the past, Modeste often couldn’t afford to seek medical help when she or her children were ill. But when her youngest child, six-week-old Eliabu, was sick with whooping cough, Modeste took him straight to the health centre. She says, “I was very worried. I thought I could even lose my baby. But when I came here they gave me the drugs and I followed the instructions. Previously a child could fall sick because there was no insurance system. I kept my child at home sometimes because I didn’t have money to pay. Now, when you get a problem you can immediately come to the clinic."