Child Health Overview

Healthy children are the foundation of a healthy future

Remarkable progress has been made in improving child survival over the past 25 years.  Since 1990, child mortality rates have been reduced by more than half.  Under-five deaths dropped from 12.7 million per year in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015.  This is a significant accomplishment, but the work is not over.  Disparities in child survival remain too high.

​Each day, 16,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday -- that translates to 11 deaths occurring every minute.  Almost nine in ten deaths among children happen in low- and lower-middle-income countries.  Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia currently experience the highest burden of child mortality, together accounting for more than 80% of global under-five deaths.  Understanding and addressing both the leading causes and inequitable distribution of child mortality must remain a global priority.

Simple interventions can save the lives of countless children

More than half of all childhood deaths result from common diseases that are preventable and treatable using highly-effective and affordable interventions.  In addition to neonatal complications, infectious diseases and conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria are the leading causes of death in children below the age of five.  Pneumonia and diarrhea are the top killers, together accounting for more than a quarter of childhood deaths worldwide.  Beyond medical-related factors, children also face a greater risk of dying before the age of five if they are born into poor households, rural areas, or to mothers deprived of a basic education.  What's more, approximately 45% of all under-five child deaths can be attributed to malnutrition.

Reaching the most vulnerable children and communities

Survive & Thrive believes that no child should die from preventable causes.  For this reason, we work to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under-five by 2030.  In order to accomplish this goal, Survive & Thrive works closely with in-country governments and organizations to support the delivery and adoption of practical, high-impact interventions that target the main killers of children in high mortality countries.

Child Health Resources


This website aims to centralize resources, highlight examples of best practices and provide access to tools regarding integrated community case management of childhood illness, or iCCM.  The website has been developed and is currently managed by the USAID grantee Maternal and Child Survival Program (USAID/MCSP).