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World Vision’s reaction to UNICEF Child Survival Report: Despite progress on child survival, a fatal “health wealth gap” remains for children

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. (September 13, 2013)—Despite progress on child survival reported by UNICEF today, millions of children are still falling through a fatal “health wealth gap”, warns World Vision. While wealthier people in developing countries may be accessing better health care, the poorest – typically women and children living outside of big cities or without education – are left behind.

The global child death rate has dropped sharply, yet at the current rate, UNICEF predicts that Millennium Development Goal 4, to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015, will not be met until 2028.
According to World Vision’s latest report: “Killer Gap:  a global index of health inequality for children”, millions of children die due to cracks in health systems, even in countries that have already met MDG 4. The report assessed 176 countries around the world according to the size of the gap between those who have access to good health care and those who don’t.
“We have seen phenomenal progress over the last few years in saving the lives of children under age five. Things are moving in the right direction, just not fast enough. There’s an unacceptable gap between the ‘health rich’ and ‘health poor’ in too many countries. With the MDG deadline looming, we must focus on reaching children and families who live on the margins and struggle to access health care,” says Shauna Kadyschuk, World Vision’s child health policy advisor.
“The good news is child mortality rates have been almost cut in half, to 6.6 million per year, since 1990. With less than 840 days left to achieve the MDGs, governments should turn their attention at the highest political level to closing the health gap for children and women,” says Kadyschuk.
Top reasons why children fall through the cracks:
1. Children who are not registered at birth are invisible to the system.  More than 50 per cent of children under five are unregistered and have no access to health services.
2. Children may be refugees, displaced due to conflict or fragile contexts.  About half of the 45.1million people displaced in 2012 are children.
3. Children with disabilities are hidden away and denied health access in some communities because of shame and fear of social stigma.
4. Other children in the gap are vulnerable to child labour or trafficking, orphans and children who lose their mothers at childbirth.
How Canada can help close the gap:
• Before the end of 2015, keep pressure on global leaders to achieve greater results in closing the gap by seeking out and targeting families and communities currently being left behind.
• Promote development work that is truly accountable to those most vulnerable by improving data collection to look beneath national averages to understand the disadvantages of the most poor.
• At the UN General Assembly and in other international discussions, Canada should champion the inclusion of a high-level goal in the post-2015 development agenda to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2030. This goal should include a strong focus on nutrition, equity, and be measured in all communities, reaching the most remote and marginalized.
For interviews contact:
Tiffany Baggetta – 416-305-9612 or [email protected]
Britt Hamilton – 416-419-1321 or [email protected]
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at