Today, 700 leaders from all over the world are gathering in Washington DC today for a Child Survival Call to Action against preventable child deaths.
The two-day event is organised by the governments of India, Ethiopia and the US in partnership with UNICEF.
Over the past 40 years, new vaccines, better health care and investment in education have helped reduce the number of child deaths by more than 50 per cent.
But millions of children – most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – still die every year from preventable diseases like pneumonia before reaching their fifth birthdays.
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.
"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", said 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 diarrhoea, 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."
Last week UNICEF published a report on pneumonia and diarrhoea, the two biggest killers of children under five.
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