UNICEF News: 12,000 fewer children perish daily in 2010 than in 1990

Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced that today marks a huge milestone for UNICEF, and it couldn’t have happened without the support of generous donors everywhere.

UNICEF just announced that the child mortality rate has dropped substantially. That means a child has a better chance of surviving to the age of 5 than just one year ago.

Take a look at the press release below for the details. As you read it, know that this hard-fought progress happened because of your support of UNICEF.

12,000 fewer children perish daily in 2010 than in 1990

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 15 September 2011 – The number of children under five years of age dying each year declined from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, UNICEF and the World Health Organization said today, releasing the latest estimates on worldwide child mortality.

These new figures show that compared to 1990, around 12,000 more children’s lives are saved each day.

An annual report on child mortality found that in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest number of under-five deaths in the world, the speed at which the under-five mortality rate is declining doubled from 1.2 per cent a year during 1990-2000 to 2.4 per cent a year during 2000-2010.

“The news that the rate of child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa is declining twice as fast as it was a decade ago shows that we can make progress even in the poorest places, but we cannot for a moment forget the chilling fact of around 21,000 children dying every day from preventable causes,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “Focusing greater investment on the most disadvantaged communities will help us save more children’s lives, more quickly and more cost effectively.”

Between 1990 and 2010, the under-five mortality rate dropped by more than one-third, from 88 deaths per 1,000 live births to 57.

Unfortunately, this rate of progress is still insufficient to meet Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4), which calls for a two-thirds reduction in the under-five mortality rate by 2015.

“Reductions in child mortality are linked to many factors, particularly increased access to health care services around the newborn period. As well as prevention and treatment of childhood illnesses, and improved nutrition, immunization coverage, and water and sanitation,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General. “This is proof that investing in children’s health is money well spent, and a sign that we need to accelerate that investment through the coming years.”

Some of the greatest improvements are in countries where children are most vulnerable.

One example is Niger, where the 1990 under-five mortality rate was 311 per 1,000 live births. To address the often large distances between people and health centres, a strategy of deploying trained community health workers to deliver high-impact interventions at thousands of new health posts across the country was used. In 2010, Niger was one of the five countries with the greatest absolute reductions in overall under-five mortality rates, together with Malawi, Liberia, Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone.

Dr. Chan and Mr. Lake agreed that the commitment of governments and the implementation of strategies to overcome local constraints to access and use of essential services are critical success factors.

The report shows that newborns and infants are the most at risk of dying, and there has been less progress for them than within the under-five age category as a whole. More than 40 per cent of under-five deaths occur within the first month of life and over 70 per cent in the first year of life.

The improvements and progress are encouraging – but stark disparities persist. Sub-Saharan Africa is still home to the highest rates of child mortality, with one in eight children dying before reaching five – more than 17 times the average for developed regions (1 in 143). Southern Asia has the second highest rates with 1 in 15 children dying before age five.

Under-five deaths are increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. In 1990, 69 per cent of under-five deaths occurred in these two regions – in 2010, that proportion increased to 82 per cent. About half of all under five deaths in the world took place in just five countries in 2010: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China.

The new estimates are published in the 2011 report Levels & Trends in Child Mortality, issued by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), which is led by UNICEF and WHO and includes the World Bank and the UN Population Division.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from nearly 13 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. www.unicefusa.org

About WHO
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

About the IGME
IGME was formed in 2004 to share data on child mortality, harmonize estimates within the UN system, improve methods for child mortality estimation report on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and enhance country capacity to produce timely and properly assessed estimates of child mortality. The IGME, led by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, also includes the World Bank and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as full members.

The 2011 child mortality report contains the latest IGME estimates of child mortality at the country, regional and global levels. For more information on child mortality estimates visit www.childmortality.org.

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Car Donation Wizard Gives Back to the North Shore Animal League

To celebrate the amazing milestone of raising 30 million dollars for charitable organizations through vehicle donations, Car Donation Wizard has decided to sponsor the Nursery Program at the North Shore Animal League.

North Shore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. They rescue and adopt pets all over the country into loving homes. North Shore Animal League America rescues, nurtures and adopts almost 20,000 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies into loving homes each year—saving close to 1,000,000 animals to date.

Their Sponsorship Nursery is filled each day with orphaned and newborn puppies and kittens. A great deal of their care requires being hand-fed from a bottle, nurtured until they are healthy and strong enough to be placed for adoption. The Animal League is often asked by other shelters to lend its support when pregnant mothers are scheduled for destruction unless they step in and protect them. By supporting the Animal League’s Sponsorship Nursery, we are helping care for newborn animals that are in need, ensuring that puppies and kittens can receive a chance at life.

Stories of some of the animals in the nursery can be found on the North Shore Animal League America’s website, where you can read their stories, see pictures, videos and sponsor these animals in need. Take for example, Angel, a beautiful 1 ½ year old Yellow Labrador Retriever and her five newborn puppies. They were in a small, overcrowded shelter and Angel was suffering from heartworm. They were at great risk of being destroyed. Thanks to the supporters of North Shore, they were rescued and placed in the Nursery Program. They have a safe, quiet place for Angel to care for her young.

Working with vehicle donations, the employees here at ARS can see what a difference one donation can make. Which is why whenever we have a chance, we like to do our part and donate either our time or money, just like our donors do. North Shore Animal League America lets us know how our resources are being used and which animals are in need and we’re proud to be a sponsor.

For more information on how you can save animals visit:

North Shore Animal League or consider Car Donation to the North Shore Animal League

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Donate a Car…Build a Home

Maybe you’d love to donate some of your time to Habitat for Humanity because you believe in the work they do, building affordable homes for low-income families, but you don’t have enough time to spare. On the other hand, maybe you have a used vehicle that you need to part with. In that case, both you and Habitat for Humanity are in luck.

Their national “Cars for Homes” program has created a win-win situation, with Habitat for Humanity able to accept donations of cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, RVs and other vehicles. They then sell the vehicles through automobile auctions, recyclers or salvage yards to raise money that helps in the construction of homes, said Maureen Clary, executive director of Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West.

Funds generated from the sale of the vehicles benefits the local Habitat where the donation is made. The Cars for Homes program began in fall 2003 in the Seattle area, and since that time the sales have raised over $10.5 million dollars for families in need.

“We have always had individuals donate cars, boats and RVs,” Clary said. “However, our affiliate would have to handle the pickup, do the title transfer, and attempt to resell the donated items locally. This program makes it much easier on both the donor and HFHSTW as the recipient.”

Since Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit organization, it may be possible for donors to claim deductions on their income tax returns, if they itemize. In general, donors can deduct the fair market value of any car up to $499. If it sells for more than $500, the full price can be deducted.

The kicker is, “The tax deduction is often more than what they could sell the vehicle for,” Clary said, “and they know that their donation will go towards eliminating substandard housing in local communities.

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Spotlight on our Partner: Arthritis Foundation

Rheumatic diseases, arthritis and other diseases of the muscles, joints and bones are common and have tremendous impact on the health and well being of 50 million Americans.

And yet, despite how common these diseases are, awareness – which can lead to earlier diagnosis, better treatments and improved outcomes, more research funding and a steady supply of physicians trained to treat these diseases – isn’t as high as it should be. Through our combined advocacy efforts, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Arthritis Foundation are working to change that.

From advocating for specific legislation to meeting with lawmakers on the Hill to participating in arthritis-related coalitions, both the ACR and the Arthritis Foundation understand that educating Congress requires a sustained effort to create change.

Each day, the Arthritis Foundation works in communities across the United States, researching the causes of and cures for arthritis, supporting community outreach and education programs — which directly help families cope with this devastating disease — and driving grassroots advocacy efforts, which articulate issues and concerns for policy-makers and legislators. You can help make a difference in the lives of millions who live with the daily pain of arthritis. Sign up for the Arthritis Walk, or better yet, become a team captain. The funds you raise will help find a cure for arthritis.  No time to walk? Consider helping in another way – donate a car through our quick and easy vehicle donation program. Together we can bring awareness and inspire research to help millions worldwide.

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Changing the world…One nail at a time

Written by guest blogger: Sarah T., a recent Habitat for Humanity, Cars for Homes volunteer.

Charity, the practice of benevolent giving and caring

We are all changing the world we live in every day. Whether that’s for better or worse depends on our actions. Recently I was given the chance to do some good by contributing to other people in a meaningful way. I was part of a group that worked on building a home for a family in need through Habitat for Humanity.

One of the most valuable things you can give someone is your time. Did it matter that I didn’t know what a “blue board” was? Not in the least. I was there, and I was ready to give my time & energy into this project. That’s not to say that there weren’t a few bumps along the way.

As a cake decorator, I can honestly say I have never held a power tool in my hand before that day. When the screw just would not, and I mean would not, go into the wall, I exclaimed “Don’t you know I work in frosting, not power tools!” (In case you were wondering, the drill was on reverse) The professional construction worker supervising us was extremely patient & enormously helpful, leading us through the fog of first-time construction work.

We had an eventful day of dry walling the upstairs of the house. It was full of dust from the walls, measuring, drilling and a few scrapes along the way. But when we were finished, I looked around and instead of beams and emptiness, saw the beginning of rooms to a home. A new future for a family who really needed an act of charity from their neighbors.

I have hope that something good comes from such a simple thing as a house. It’s funny how helping others can make us feel. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe; a sense of fulfillment, a happiness that you can’t get from anything else. It puts a smile on your face and lightness in your heart.

There’s something hardwired into all of us that makes us feel like a million bucks when we are kind and when we are giving, and my experience was no different.

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