UNICEF reported in 2009 that 8.8 million children under the age of five died during 2008. Tragically this would be the same as 24,000 children dying every single day. For comparison, it is worth noting the stark contrast that 50% of these deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa while only 0.1% occur in the “Industrialised Countries”.
UNICEF, the United Nations funding agency for the relief of children in need, is a reliable source of information. In their November 2009 publication The State of the World’s Children Special Edition: Celebrating 20 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child gives insight into how different the lives of others can be, and how great their need can be often in comparison to our own. For example, UNICEF report that in 2008:
- 2.5 billion people lacked access to improved sanitation
- 1 billion children were deprived of one or more services essential to survival and development
- 148 million children under the age of five in developing regions were underweight for their age
- 101 million children were not attending primary school, with more girls than boys missing out
- 22 million infants were not protected from diseases by routine immunisation
- 4 million newborn babies worldwide died in the first month of life
- 2 million children under 15 years of age were living with HIV
- 8.8 million children under the age of five died, equivalent to more than 24,000 children dying daily
- 500,000 women died from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth
(Source: UNICEF The State of the World’s Children Special Edition: Celebrating 20 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 2009, p.18-19)
Anup Shah produces a website with much of this information presented clearly for easy reading and can be found here.
How should we respond to this information? Shock, disbelief, vigilance, anger, compassion, sadness?
Maybe the bigger question is what are we prepared to do about it.