Over 80 governments and partners from the private sector, civil society, and faith-based organisations gathered at the Child Survival Call to Action on 16 June, 2012 to launch a sustained, global effort to save children's lives.
The Child Survival Call to Action is a high-level forum convened by the governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States, in collaboration with Unicef.
Over the past 40 years, new vaccines, improved health care practices, investments in education, and the dedication of governments, civil society and other partners have contributed to reducing the number of child deaths by more than 50 per cent.
In spite of this, millions of children, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, die every year from largely preventable causes before reaching their fifth birthdays. In 2010, this translated to 57 children dying for every 1,000 live births.
According to Unicef, the Call to Action challenges the world to reduce child mortality to 20 or fewer child deaths per 1,000 live births in every country by 2035. Reaching this historic target will save an additional 45 million children's lives by 2035, bringing the world closer to the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths.
In the forum, the various representatives agreed that these goals can be reached by working across five key areas of high burden populations, high impact solutions, providing education for women and girls, establishing shared goals and increasing efforts in high impact nations.
"We have the tools, the treatments, and the technology to save millions of lives every year, and there is no excuse not to use them," stated Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake. "To renew our promise to the world's children, we have to focus on the leading causes of child mortality like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, scaling up coverage of high-impact, low-cost treatments, sparking greater innovation, and spurring greater political will to reach the hardest to reach children. The grand goal of preventing child deaths must be our common cause."
At the Call to Action, governments and partners are asked to pledge their support on sharpening national plans for child survival, monitoring results, and focusing greater attention on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.