Saving children’s lives is at the heart of what we do. It’s the reason we exist.
In 2015, our health and nutrition programmes reached 9.8 million children.
Over the last 25 years, we’ve been part of a remarkable story of progress. Since 1990, child mortality has almost halved.
But despite this leap forward, there’s a danger we are leaving many children behind – because they are poor, because they are girls or because of their ethnicity.
5.9 million children still die each year, many from causes that could be prevented, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. Rates of newborn babies’ deaths are not coming down fast enough, and malnutrition remains a stubborn challenge. We’re determined to change this.
We’re putting pressure on governments and working with powerful global partners to improve health for millions. Every day, our doctors, nurses and health teams are saving lives in hard-to-reach communities around the world.
Years of war in Syria have left the country’s health system in ruins. As rates of disease and malnutrition rise, it’s children like Joud who are paying the price.
Worried for her health, Joud’s mum, Amira*, brought her to one of the six medical centres we support in northern Syria.
Amira said, “The doctors performed many tests and gave me vitamins and medicines for her. Also, they gave me peanut butter bars. Since then, she has started gaining weight.”
We’re offering essential healthcare to 200,000 people like Joud and Amira in northern Syria. Amira says, “It is the only centre in this area and I see women from all the villages around us bringing their children [here].”
How big is the problem?
- 16,000 children under five die each day, many from causes that could be prevented.
- Each year, nearly 3 million babies die in their first month of life.
- 50% of deaths in children aged under five are caused by infectious diseases.
- One child in five misses out on routine immunisations, leaving them exposed to deadly illnesses.
Hope for health workers in India
Universal Health Coverage: Alongside GSK, we’re championing affordable healthcare for all and showing that it is a realistic aim for every country.
Newborn deaths: More than 1 million babies die on their first day of life. After we called for action to address this scandal, 194 countries endorsed an action plan to end preventable newborn deaths.
Vaccines: Through our No Child Born to Die campaign, we helped secure a UK government pledge of £1 billion towards immunisation in poorer countries. Other donors followed suit, committing enough money to vaccinate 300 million more children.
Emergencies: Our new Emergency Health Unit means we have medical supplies, logistics experts and skilled surgeons, doctors and nurses ready to send anywhere in the world in the event of a major disaster or conflict.
India, Nigeria and Pakistan: In partnership with RB, we’re pioneering a new programme to stop children dying from diarrhoea. This includes launching a low cost antibacterial soap and a toilet powder to help break down toilet waste faster.
South Sudan: At Nimule Hospital our staff offer vital healthcare to a population of around 270,000 people. With ten trained midwives, the hospital is one of South Sudan’s leading facilities for maternal care, delivering six babies a day.
Kenya: Working with the Kenya Ministry of Health and GSK, we aim to save 16,000 newborn lives and 22,000 mothers by training health workers, supplying medicines and equipment, and improving community care for pregnant women.
Democratic Republic of Congo: In partnership with GSK, we’re renovating clinics, training health workers and improving medical supplies. Over five years, we aim to bring essential healthcare to 700,000 children.
- The Lottery of Birth: Giving all children an equal chance to survive
- Making a Killing: How tax scams are robbing poor countries of life-saving healthcare
- A Common Cause: Reaching every woman and child through Universal Health Coverage
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
Last updated March 2017.