How can Latin America best ensure a child does not die needlessly?
This was one of the questions on the minds of delegates meeting in Panamá to renew the region’s promises to advance child health care and address inequalities in access.
So far, 32 governments within the Americas have signed UNICEF’s ‘A Promise Renewed’ pledge. Launched in June last year, the pledge seeks to end preventable child deaths and to do so by ensuring they get a healthy start in life. The goal is to reduce deaths worldwide from to 20 per 1,000 live births by 2035.
Preventing child mortality
In Latin America and the Caribbean today a child’s parents’ socio-economic status still has a significant impact on a child's future. While child mortality has more than halved in recent years, children from low income homes are five times more likely to die before their 5th birthday. The majority of whose deaths could have been prevented.
It’s these children that universal health-care programs such as Argentina’s Plan Nacer and Peru’s Qali Warma, are concentrating on. Plan Nacer provides access to basic health services for children and pregnant mothers without health coverage.
"Quite often he gets sick when it’s cold. Here they give him the vaccinations he needs," explains Josefina Godoy, whose son is covered by Plan Nacer, which has benefitted more than 2 million mothers and children since 2004
Nutrition is the focus of a joint initiative between the World Bank and the United Nations World Food Program in Peru. By providing nutritious school meals to public primary school children from age 3, Qali Warma aims to give them the best possible learning environment in which to develop and grow.