A fair chance at life: Why equity matters for child mortality

'A Fair Chance at Life' draws attention to one of the most pressing development challenges of our age –the toll of preventable child deaths in the world’s poorest countries, which in 2008 claimed nearly 9 million lives. This is a scandalous waste of human potential, and a cause of enormous suffering to the families and communities that are affected. Progress towards the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) – a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015 – is also one of the best measures of wider social and economic development. The forthcoming UN summit in New York to review the eight MDGs is the last major opportunity before the target date to reach an international agreement on actions to accelerate progress.The report shows that an intensified effort to reduce child mortality can succeed only if equity is put front and centre. Ensuring that every child has a fair chance at life is a moral imperative. But there is also – as Save the Children’s research demonstrates – a compelling instrumental case for prioritising equitable progress in order to achieve MDG 4. The challenge – and opportunity – is to draw on the policy lessons of poor countries that have succeeded in reducing child mortality for all sections of their societies.

Published 2011-02-02

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