The Inquirer (Monrovia)

23 October 2013

Liberia: Save the Children Releases Global Child Health Report

Save the Children's global report on Child Health speaks of recent improvements in child health thereby putting Liberia among 25 countries tracked to meeting the goal of two-thirds reduction in child mortality rates by 2015.

However, Save the Children, Liberia through its Country Director, Ranjan Poudyal, told a news gathering on Tuesday that as a rights organization it cannot be satisfied with a two-third reduction in saving lives and is joining the global campaign to end preventable child deaths by 2030.

Mr. Poudyal said the campaign's aim is to adopt the call as an explicit target in the UN post 2015 framework as the report kick starts the final phase of Save the Children priority global campaign named EVERY ONE.

He reminded governments and other organizational partners that it is just 800 days to the MDGs deadline of 2015 and there should be a renewed sense of urgency that would ensure that governments and other stakeholders redouble their efforts to achieve child mortality goal.

However, malnutrition and newborn death rates continue to be the areas for concentration meaning that gains made in child health could not be sustained unless there is a shift in approach and strategy supported by adequate investment and political commitment for an extended period of time.

Save the Children is reporting that increased funding for essential heath care and nutrition needs to be matched by adequate investment in health workers; even though experiences shared from countries revealed that major inroads into child mortality demonstrates that resources alone are not enough.

The report notes that an enabling environment for change usually underpins evidence of progress towards MDG4 as child mortality is increasingly concentrated in particular regions and among the poorest and most structurally disadvantaged groups including remote rural populations and urban slum dwellers.

The report states that the extraordinary reductions in mortality rates have reshaped the child mortality challenge as a reduction in newborn deaths will require a massive increase in care for mothers and babies as part of the drive to achieving universal health coverage for all children and their families.

In Liberia 54 percent of women give birth without the support of a skilled health worker and the country is also on record for having a stunting prevalence of 36 percent caused by malnutrition. Meanwhile several steps have been put forth to end preventable child deaths.

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