Health and Nutrition

Every year, almost 6 million children die before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and sepsis. Millions of children become ill or die because they lack access to health services or an adequate, nutritious diet. In fact, undernutrition is estimated to contribute to 45% of all child deaths.The world can save these children’s lives. The time to act is now.

Save the Children is a global leader in maternal and children’s health. We use evidence-based approaches to tackle life-threatening conditions and prevent child deaths. We know, for example:

  • Appropriate care around the time of birth could avert more than 40% of deaths attributable to labour and delivery complications
  • Appropriate care for small or sick newborns could avert 30% of newborn deaths
  • Timely and appropriate treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria could prevent up to 30% of child deaths
  • Exclusive breastfeeding through a child’s first six months of life could prevent up to 13% of child deaths

The challenge is that these services are not reaching the children most in need. Save the Children does whatever it takes. By reaching more children, especially the most deprived and marginalised, with a small set of life-saving interventions, we can save millions of lives every year.

Mother Mina, 19, holding her son in their village in Muladi Upazila, Barasil district, Bangladesh.

In 2016, we supported the delivery of 6.5 million life-saving curative interventions among children under 5 years of age in 37 countries around the world. This included support for the treatment of 2.4 million cases of malaria, 1.6 million cases of pneumonia, 1.9 million cases of diarrhoea and 547,000 cases of acute malnutrition.

And we reached more than 282,000 children directly with clinical services in humanitarian settings – emergency contexts such as conflicts, natural disasters and outbreaks of disease.

Through Save the Children’s Every Last Child campaign, we work at national, regional and global levels to demand that more and better public funds are invested in children, with the aims of ending child marriage and strengthening governments’ existing commitments on child marriage and adolescent girls’ health, among other goals, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

To read more about our health work, download one of the following reports or visit our resources page.

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