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Family Planning Key to Fighting Child Mortality

Jun 6, 2007

Each year 10.1 million children around the world die before their fifth birthday, 28,000 children per day, most from preventable causes and all in poor countries. One of the best ways to turn the tide on child mortality is to ensure the well-being of mothers in the world’s poorest countries, concludes Save the Children’s new report, State of the World’s Mothers: Saving the Lives of Children Under 5.

Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines all cut child mortality rates significantly in the past 15 years despite being among the world’s poorest nations. They did it by focusing on family planning, investing in better health care for mothers and better nutrition for children, and by putting simple lifesaving health care services in place. At the same time in these countries, women’s use of contraceptives rose and fertility rates declined.

Skilled care during childbirth and access to modern contraceptives are essential to the well being of mothers and can save both mothers’ and children’s lives, the report finds. Well nourished mothers are stronger, and have fewer complications from childbirth and healthier babies. Access to family planning services also helps women avoid pregnancy when they are too young or old, and space births at healthy intervals.

State of the World’s Mothers is available at www.savethechildren.org.

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