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More lives would have been saved if development efforts in Ethiopia focused more on the poorest children, stated a report released by Save the Children, titled “Lives on the Line”.
The report indicated that dramatic global progress is being made in saving children’s lives and the world is now at a historic point where ending preventable child deaths lies within the grasp of countries.
On the other hand, if additional focus is not given to the issue, the report suggested that this opportunity might pass without achieving what is required. “We are making historic gains in the fight against child deaths, but this headline success also often masks the fact that the poorest children are being left behind and, in extreme cases, are doing worse,” said Patrick Watt, Save the Children’s Global Campaign Director. The report declares that there is slow progress regarding the reduction of newborn child deaths and this is one major challenge that will hinder the achievement of even more progress.
According to Save the Children, Niger leads the world on tackling child deaths in the EVERY ONE Index. It stated that the country’s progress is striking because, unlike others, it has managed to do better across all income groups, and in the countryside as well as urban areas.
“World leaders must ensure that children of all backgrounds have an equal chance to survive. Niger’s political leadership and investments have made them the country to watch for continued dramatic progress in ending preventable child deaths for good,” Watt stated.
With all its challenges, Ethiopia has ranked fairly high in the report, because of its dramatic progress in reducing child mortality, as well as a strong score on sustainability. “Ethiopia is one the few countries in Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality two years ahead of schedule. This is a remarkable achievement which demonstrates the commitment of the Ethiopian government and success of joint efforts of all key actors who put resources and expertise on the line,” said John Graham, Country Director for Save the Children.
Although MDG 4 has been achieved in Ethiopia, the rate of child mortality still remains high. “We must all work together to help the government deliver health services even more equitably, so that mortality among structurally disadvantaged groups will be reduced more quickly, and help achieve progress towards the longer-term goal of ending preventable child deaths,” Graham added