Ending preventable child deaths before 2035: Bangladesh call to action

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Child’s arm being measured to assess his nutritional state at a feeding centre in Dahakula village, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/S. Noorani

Bangladesh on Monday committed to ending preventable child deaths in the country before 2035. This commitment builds on the impressive progress that Bangladesh has made in reducing maternal and child mortality, and improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and children over the past 40 years.

To achieve this goal, the Government has pledged to scale up interventions that are proven through rigorous research to address the remaining preventable causes of child mortality in Bangladesh.

A special emphasis will be placed on ensuring the survival of newborns, the youngest and most vulnerable citizens, through simple and cost-effective interventions.

In this connection, Professor Dr. A.F.M Ruhal Haque, Minister of Health & Family Welfare said: "Bangladesh has achieved significant success in reducing under-5 child mortality. However, the rate of neonatal mortality reduction is comparatively slower than the overall under-5 child mortality reduction".

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said "There's a lot to learn from Bangladesh. Between 1991 and 2011, under-five deaths fell by almost 75 per cent, thanks, in part, to its commitment to innovation and knowledge-sharing".

He said "The challenge now is to achieve high levels of coverage of existing and new interventions, such as vaccinations and skilled birth attendants, by targeting the poorest populations where infant and child mortality remain high."

The main reasons for neonatal deaths are birth asphyxia, neonatal infections, prematurity and complications at birth. UNICEF says it is indeed a challenge to take effective steps against this as 71 per cent deliveries still take place at home.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″

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