A newborn baby.

Health

Helping children to grow up happy and healthy

Saving Children's Lives

We helped 10.6 million children through our health and nutrition work in 2017.

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 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.

Joud's story

Joud, age two, was treated by staff at our health centre in northern Syria.

Joud, age two, was treated by staff at our health centre in northern Syria.

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.

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What we're doing to help children

VaccinesThrough 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.

EmergenciesOur 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.

South SudanAt 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.

KenyaWorking with the Kenya Ministry of Health and global pharmaceutical company, 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 CongoIn 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.

Pneumonia: Pneumonia kills more children than any other infectious disease. Join us to find out more and work with us to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia. 

Find out more