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Child Health

Tremendous achievements have been made in decreasing the number of deaths of children under the age of five. However, the rate of these improvements varies greatly from region to region. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 1 in 9 children dies before the fifth birthday—more than 15 times the average for developed regions. For Southern Asia, about 1 in 16 children dies before age five. The good news is that the primary killers of children—pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria—are preventable and treatable.

MCSP is a vital contributor to the global movement to end preventable child deaths. We work to protect children from diseases and to improve their access to lifesaving treatments globally and in the 24 priority USAID countries. In those countries and regions with greatest need, we are building capacity to plan, leverage resources, and scale up proven child health interventions.

We are assisting countries in setting achievable child survival targets, while establishing mechanisms for regular review and joint accountability for results. This is done by extending child health services to hard-to-reach populations and those with limited access to child health services. MCSP also encourages partner coordination and supports joint workplanning led by host governments and inclusive of civil society organizations and private sector partners.

MCSP is building on work begun under USAID’s predecessor Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) to continue expanding integrated Community Case Management (iCCM). This strategy extends the management and care of childhood illness beyond health facility services, with a focus on the leading causes of child deaths: diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and malnutrition.

As Secretariat of the iCCM Task Force, MCSP collaborates with UNICEF, WHO, USAID, NGO representatives, and other iCCM partner organizations to improve iCCM implementation and scale-up. The Program benefits from the extensive child and community health expertise of our partnership and lessons learned from the Child Survival and Health Grants Program. In strengthening access to management of childhood illness (IMCI) services, MCSP steers attention to developing strong links between facility- and community-based services and the health system.

The three primary killers of children under five years of age are both preventable and treatable with simple and cost-effective interventions. MCSP is working to end preventable child deaths by making treatment and services available to those most at risk.

To download MCSP’s child health fact sheet, click here. And to participate in the Knowledge Gateway Quality Improvement of Child Health Community of Practice, click here.

Key Facts

  • 6.3 million children under the age of five died in 2013.
  • More than 1/2 of child deaths could be prevented or treated with simple, affordable interventions.
  • Pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria are the leading killers of children under five.
  • About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
  • Children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 15 times more likely to die before the age of five than children in developed regions.