June 30, 2014

Reducing child mortality: Among World Cup countries, Brazil leads in saving children’s lives

This post originally appeared on The Daily Star here.

A new scorecard of the 32 countries competing in the 2014 World Cup shows that all have made significant progress in reducing childhood mortality since 1990, when the World Cup was hosted by Italy. However, not all countries have progressed equally. This year’s host, Brazil, leads the way with a 77 percent reduction in deaths among children under age 5 since 1990.

The ranking, “Child Mortality: What’s the Score?” is being released in the run-up to the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Partners Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 30 June-1 July. At the conference, global leaders will call for accelerated action to improve the health of children, newborns and mothers everywhere.

“There are two main reasons for the reduction of child mortality in Brazil: expanding access to primary health care and Bolsa Família, the world’s largest cash transfer programme,” said Paulo Vicente Bonilha de Almeida, child health coordinator with the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

“Simple low-cost solutions could help every country dramatically reduce newborn deaths,” said Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, co-director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Canada.