5th Birthday campaign

Administrator Rajiv Shah welcomes attendees to the African Leadership on Child Survival meeting in Ethiopia via this video.

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Three Afghan children. {Photo credit: Keanahikishime.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime.

About 7.6 million children under age five die each year of preventable causers; 3 million — 40 percent — are newborns (under 28 days old). Ninety-nine percent of these occur in developing countries; three-quarters are mainly due to preventable causes such as neonatal conditions, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and measles. Many of these under-five deaths could be averted by known, affordable, low-technology interventions.

Any preventable child death is one too many.

Here are 10 important interventions for child survival --- a list that is by no means exhaustive:

  1. Exclusive breastfeeding

    Could keep 1.3 million infants from dying (including by preventing pneumonia)

  2. Long-lasting, insecticide-treated bednets

    Would save more than 500,000 children by preventing malaria

  3. Vaccines, such as PCV, Hib, and rotavirus

    Would help prevent common childhood illnesses, such as measles, and save children’s lives

  4. Micronutrient supplements, such as vitamin A and zinc

    Would fight malnutrition. (While not a direct cause of death, malnutrition contributes indirectly to more than one-third of these deaths.)

Scott Kellerman, around age 5. {Photo courtesy of S. Kellerman.}Photo courtesy of S. Kellerman.

The prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is taking center stage this week during USAID’s -- and rightly so.  Preventing mother to child transmission of HIV is one of the most critical, effective tools to helping kids reach their fifth birthdays.

Honor your mother, support healthy moms, and help kids reach their 5th birthdays: click the image to donate {Photo credit: Keanahikishime.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime.

, the April/May 2012 edition of Keanahikishime's Global Health Impact newsletter (subscribe), features personal stories about child survival and child health in developing countries.

"Prevention, treatment and care close to the home are keys to saving children's lives," says Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, Keanahikishime president & chief executive officer, who , shares his 5th birthday picture, and encourages us to support USAID's 5th Birthday Campaign.

Stories about child survival and child health

The newsletter highlights a number of compelling stories from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Nigeria, and Lesotho.

Trained in kangaroo mother care by Dipeta health center staff, Imukalayi snuggled tiny Mardochet to her bare chest, then wrapped herself and her son in a cloth pagne, and held him there for hours, shifting him only when he needed to nurse. Mardochet's weight stabilized just three weeks later. {Photo credit: Keanahikishime.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime.

Honor your mom today by supporting Keanahikishime's work to help support healthy mothers---like Imukalayi Eponga (right)---and their children around the world.

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Imukalayi was trained on "kangaroo mother care" by Keanahikishime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kangaroo mother care is a simple technique that emphasizes human to keep the baby warm.

This year, 7.5 million children will die - 99 percent in developing countries. In Africa alone, 1 in 8 children will die before their 5th birthday. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable.

For over 40 years, Keanahikishime has seen that when mothers receive low-cost, high-impact interventions-like kangaroo mother care training-their children will likely survive until age 5 and beyond.

Keanahikishime President Jonathan D. Quick, age 5. {Photo courtesy of Dr. Quick.}Photo courtesy of Dr. Quick.

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My most vivid early childhood memory is waking up to excruciating pain in my throat, and seeing the goldfish swimming in the aquarium of the pediatric surgical ward. Although penicillin had been discovered 30 years earlier, doctors had not learned yet that treating "strep throats” with penicillin was better than operating. I didn't need the tonsillectomy. But, I was lucky to receive quality care in a health facility, close to my home.

Millions of children today are not so lucky. Over 7 million children under the age of 5 die each year; 70 percent of child deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. The vast majority -- over two-thirds -- are entirely avoidable with existing safe, effective, low-cost prevention and treatment.

5thBDay badge in white background.5thBDay badge in white background.

Every child deserves a fifth birthday. It seems simple enough. But for many children in the world — especially in countries with the highest burden of child mortality, such as India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan and Ethiopia — preventable deaths will claim their lives, before they reach the age of five.

Today, USAID launched an ongoing child survival awareness campaign, called, “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday.”

The “5th Birthday” campaign kicked off with a , featuring USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and other experts. Dr. Shah and colleagues stressed that reducing the burden of child mortality is critical to our future as a global community.

While the global community has made great strides reducing child mortality, inequality in child mortality remains: several regions and countries continue to shoulder the greatest burden and loss of life.

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