Bangladesh issues call to action to end preventable child deaths by 2035
The government plans to build on the progress made in reducing maternal and child mortality in the past 40 years by scaling up interventions proven through research to address the remaining preventable causes of child morality in the country. Bangladesh will place emphasis on ensuring the survival of newborns through cost-effective and simple interventions.
"Bangladesh has achieved significant success in reducing under-5 child mortality," A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, the minister of Bangladesh's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said. "However, the rate of neonatal mortality reduction is comparatively slower than the overall under-five child mortality reduction. We need to address this now as 60 percent of child mortality in Bangladesh is due to neonatal mortality."
The main causes of neonatal deaths in Bangladesh are complications at birth, prematurity, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia. The main reasons for death of children under five in the country are diarrhea, drowning and pneumonia. Approximately 41 percent of children under five in Bangladesh experience stunted growth due to under nutrition.
"There's a lot to learn from Bangladesh," Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, said. "Between 1991 and 2011, under-five deaths fell by almost 75 percent, thanks, in part, to its commitment to innovation and knowledge-sharing. The challenge now is to achieve high levels of coverage of existing and new interventions, such as vaccinations and skilled birth attendants, by targeting the poorest populations where infant and child mortality remain high."
Bangladesh committed to reduce neonatal and child mortality to 20 per 1,000 live births by 2035. UNICEF said the achievement of the goal would depend on the partnership and ownership of the civil society, professional bodies, U.N. agencies, development partners, private sector and the population at large.
"In June 2012, at the Child Survival: Call to Action Summit, I had the pleasure of watching the government of Bangladesh join the international community in committing to end preventable child death by 2035," Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said. "Proven through rigorous research, the set of life-saving interventions identified in this Call to Action today represents a costed plan that is results-oriented and makes all parties accountable for tracking progress toward this landmark goal. On behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development, I would like to congratulate the government of Bangladesh on its vision and leadership, as well as the partners for their contributions towards this impressive progress. We look forward to our continued collaboration with government of Bangladesh and the citizens it serves. Together, we will strive for a future where every mother has the opportunity to see her child celebrates his or her 5th birthday."
Bangladesh joined 23 other countries in the commitment to bring down neonatal and child mortality.