Have you heard of MDG4? And no, it’s not some weird new disease that is coming from your paper towels or nylon backpack straps or whatever. So don’t freak out.
But I’ll ask it again- have you heard of MDG4? No? Good, then I’m not alone. But also not good because this is a big deal, people. And I can’t believe I’m just now learning about it.
MDG4 stands for Millennium Development Goal 4- it’s a UN driven initiative to reduce the number of child deaths by 2/3rds by 2015. There are actually 8 goals in all, and they were set during the UN Millennium Summit that took place in 2000. But the one I want to dive into is Goal 4.
In 1990, about 12.6 MILLION children in the world died before their fifth birthday. Think about that. Fifth! My son isn’t even two yet; I can’t imagine only having him around for three more years. It’s unbearable even trying to think of existing without him, yet families in developing countries are actually living it. Every day.
12.6 million. That’s just slightly more than the entire population of Ohio. So that would be like all of us Ohioans dying this year and leaving the state completely empty. It baffles the mind.
It’s even more mind boggling when you see how they died- Malaria, Pneumonia, Diarrhea… all diseases that are completely preventable and treatable. How is this possible? Can’t something be done? Why should these children suffer simply because their place of birth and circumstance?
The UN felt the same way and decided to do something. To affect change. And that’s why, in 2000, they developed the extremely attainable goal of reducing childhood deaths to 4.3 million by 2015.
But what specifically is being done to reduce these deaths?
- Malaria: bed nets, indoor spraying, and expansion of treatment
- Pneumonia: pneumococcal vaccine and increasing access to antibiotic treatment
- Diarrhea: expanding roll-out of vaccine and increase access to treatment
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: accelerated roll-out of national PMTCT programs
- Other diseases: scale up of various vaccines that typically cause child deaths
- It should also be noted that proper nutrition plays an important factor in avoiding many of these diseases, and nutrition-focused efforts are also being undertaken.
As a result of these efforts, the number of deaths dropped from that staggering 12.6 million figure to 6.55 million in 2012, which is still 2.2 million above the goal. Further, the UN estimates they are currently on track to prevent 1.2 million child deaths in 2015, but that only takes us halfway there.
So what can YOU do? Where do you come in? Social Good Moms (a sister site of Mom Bloggers Club) launched a 500 day campaign with Save the Children counting down to the deadline of MDG4. The focus is sharing the importance of the world doing more to keep more children in developing countries alive and well. This is day 488. Go to www.savethechildren.net/mdg500 to learn more and help spread the word. Every voice helps. Imagine if it was your baby… let’s help give these moms a voice.