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Child Health

Every child should get medicine

Our movement's child health and nutrition programmes reached 27.9 million children in 2020.

Since 1990, child mortality has almost halved. But there's a danger we're leaving kids behind – because of poverty, ethnicity or gender.

5.9m children still die annually, many from preventable causes like diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Malnutrition remains challenging and newborn death rates must fall.

We're determined to change this. We're pressuring 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.


Najma, 10, holds her baby sister Tufah, nine months, outside her home in the Degehabur district, Somali Region, Ethiopia

Najma, 10, holds her baby sister Tufah, nine months, outside her home in Ethiopia. Photo: Hanna Adcock

Najma is 10 years old and lives with her family in a remote part of the Somali region in Ethiopia.

As they are far from medical care, Najma and her siblings often have to contend with all kinds of illness.

But now an immunisation programme has reached their community, giving her youngest siblings the chance to get protected against childhood killers like, measles and whooping cough.

Najma’s baby sister, Tufah, was given her final measles jab by a community health worker, Ifra, who was trained by Save the Children. 

This programme has not only supported Najma and her family, but is now working to immunise the entire community and raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations.

  • 16,000 under-5s die each day, many from preventable diseases
  • Each year, nearly 3m babies die in their 1st month alive
  • 50% of under-5 deaths are caused by infectious diseases
  • 1 child in 5 misses routine immunisations, exposing them to deadly illnesses.

Here's a few of the things we're doing;

Female Genital Mutilation: Raising awareness of the harmful effects of FGM and training health workers to help affected girls.

Emergencies: Our Emergency Health Unit means we have 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.

Pneumonia: The biggest infectious killer of children. Find out more and work with us to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia.

Read our latest report for World Pneumonia Day here

Vaccines: Securing a £1bn govt. pledge to immunisation in poorer countries through our No Child Born to Die campaign. More donations followed, enough to vaccinate 300m more children.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Renovation, training and improving medical supplies in partnership with GSK. Over 5 years, we aim to bring essential healthcare to 700k children.

South Sudan: Offering vital healthcare to a 270k population at Nimule Hospital. With 10 trained midwives, it's one of South Sudan’s leading maternal care facilities, delivering six babies a day.

The journey of a vaccine

Related reports and blogs


Primary health care first: Strengthening the foundation of universal healthcare coverage
While strengthening primary health care has long been a core component of the health agenda, research into primary health care expenditure has been limited. Primary Health Care First seeks to understand and address that gap, an urgent priority for saving lives and a critical first step toward achieving universal health coverage by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals.

Fighting for Breath: A call for action on childhood pneumonia
Turns a spotlight on the inequalities, policy failures and indifference holding back progress on tackling childhood pneumonia, the number one infectious killer of children, and proposes a way forward. Read the Country Briefings to accompany this report. 

Further, Faster, Fairer: Reaching every last child with immunisation
Explores which groups of children are missing out on immunisation and the barriers they face.

Within Our Means: Why countries can afford Universal Health Coverage
Why all developing countries can afford to increase spending on health, through different policy decisions and public spending.

Read our blog: Making health budgets work for children

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