Celebrating the First-Ever Child Survival Global Day of Action
Today is Save the Children’s inaugural Global Day of Action for Child Survival. It will be a truly global event with more than 50,000 children from 67 countries around the world talking to their leaders and policymakers about what more can be done to stop children dying from preventable causes—including HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS infection and exposure in children is one of the biggest challenges to achieving Millenium Development Goal (MDG) four - to cut child mortality by two thirds by 2015. Every day 700 babies are born HIV-positive and almost all of them live in sub-Saharan Africa where the disease remains an epidemic. Without antiretroviral therapy (ART) 80 percent of these children will die before they reach their fifth birthday.
But even children born to HIV-positive women who do not become infected are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality. They have slower early growth rates and a higher risk of contracting childhood diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia, compared to children born to HIV-negative women.
As the new report from Save the Children--also released today—explains, we need a definitive and comprehensive examination of what is required to complete MDG four and move toward the wider goal of ending preventable deaths. The report also includes a new analysis that addresses not only the speed of progress in reducing childhood mortality in the 75 countries with the highest burden of maternal and child mortality, but also their performance on the equity and sustainability of this progress.
You can join the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) as we support today’s activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter and using the hash tag #Race4Survival. You can sign Save the Children’s global petition and learn about all of the activities to fight for child survival taking place around the world here.
Johanna Harvey is EGPAF’s Senior Communications Officer, based in Washington, D.C.