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Save the Children Spain
This Save the Children report gives a global snapshot of the best and worst countries for a child to be born in, ranking Iceland at the top of a list of 171 countries and Somalia at the bottom (based on factors including school attendance rates, child mortality, the health and wellbeing of mothers, the percentage of underweight children and access to drinking water).
While practically all Icelandic children have access to quality healthcare and education, in Somalia every sixth child dies before reaching the age of five; 32% of Somalia’s children suffer from malnutrition and 70% do not have access to safe drinking water. Although huge strides have been made in reducing infant mortality – the number of child deaths worldwide fell from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011 – it’s still not enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 target of a two-third’s reduction in child deaths by 2015.
Among the leading causes of death in under-five children are pneumonia, malnutrition, diarrhea, preterm birth and malaria. Improved access to vaccines, life-saving treatments or the use of mosquito nets have helped to save the lives of many children, but in many parts of the world, women and children still face unequal access to and use of basic health resources. To tackle the underlying and structural causes of under five deaths and further reduce the number of children dying from conditions that are easily preventable and treatable will require determined action on the part of governments and partners.