Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
Jun 4, 2015

For Babies, It's Survival of the Richest

State of the World Mother
State of the World Mother's Report

As more and more mothers seek better opportunities for their children in urban areas, Save the Children's new report, State of the World's Mothers 2015: The Urban Disadvantage looks at the real story behind the bright lights of the big city. Focusing on the health and survival of urban children, the findings, released today, uncover a hidden truth.

"Our new report reveals a devastating child survival divide between the haves and have-nots, telling a tale of two cities among urban communities around the world, including the United States," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "For babies born in the big city, it's survival of the richest."

For the first time in history, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas. But many cities are unable to keep up with the breakneck pace of urban growth, leaving one-third of all urban residents—including hundreds of millions of mothers and children—to live in slums, where a lack of clean water, basic sanitation and health services can equal death.

Yet, average national and urban child survival statistics tell a deceptively positive story. They show that in developing nations children living in big cities are surviving at higher rates than those living in smaller towns or rural areas. But these numbers mask the fact that a child's survival in the city too often is dependent on the family's wealth.

Save the Children's report reveals a harrowing reality for urban moms and their children living in poverty throughout the developing world:

  • In two-thirds of the countries surveyed, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children.
  • The disparity in child survival rates between the rich and poor in urban areas has widened over roughly the past two decades in nearly half of the 40 developing nations surveyed.
  • According to the report, in 60 percent of developing nations surveyed, city children living in poverty are more likely to die than those living in rural areas.
  • The 10 countries with the greatest survival divide between wealthy and poor urban children are: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, India, Madagascar, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda and Vietnam. In these countries, children from poor families are 3 to 5 times as likely to die as children from wealthy families.

The gap between the health of the rich and poor is just as prevalent in big cities in some of the wealthiest nations:

  • In Washington, D.C. for example, babies in the lowest income neighborhood are more than 10 times more likely to die than babies in the wealthiest part of the city.
  • In a ranking of child survival in 25 capital cities in the wealthiest countries, Washington, D.C. came in last. Joining our nation's capital at the bottom of the list are: Vienna (Austria), Bern (Switzerland), Warsaw (Poland) and Athens (Greece).
  • Leading the list of capitals where babies are most likely to survive are: Prague (Czech Republic), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Tokyo (Japan) and Lisbon (Portugal).

However, the report has also uncovered some good news. It has identified a number of cities that are making significant gains for the poorest children, including Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Cairo (Egypt); Guatemala City (Guatemala); Kampala (Uganda); Manila (Philippines); and Phnom Penh (Cambodia). These cities are working to increase access to basic maternal, newborn, and child services; raise health awareness; and make care more affordable and accessible to the poorest urban families.

"The survival of millions of children in cities should not be a privilege for the rich, but guaranteed for all," said Miles. "We call on our leaders not to forget these mothers and children struggling to survive in the shadows of our bustling metropolises. We must invest in making quality health care more accessible and affordable to all moms and babies."

Jun 4, 2015

Liberia Becomes Ebola-Free

Liberia Children
Liberia Children

Save the Children congratulates Liberia on becoming Ebola-free today after 42 days of no new cases.

“I want to personally commend President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for achieving this significant milestone,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children USA. “While the battle against Ebola is not over yet, this breakthrough gives us hope that this is, indeed, a winnable fight.”

According to the World Health Organization, West Africa has reported the lowest weekly total of new cases of Ebola this year. However, it is important not to rest on our laurels until all countries in the region are declared Ebola-free.

“While I am confident that we can get to zero cases next in Guinea and Sierra Leone, we should remember that the hard part is just beginning,” Miles added. “Rebuilding these three countries, which have been decimated by this unprecedented outbreak, will require untold resources. It’s vital we keep the spotlight on West Africa for the foreseeable future.”

Save the Children remains committed to working with the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to restore and improve essential health services, invest in robust health systems and outbreak detection & management, break down stigmas around Ebola survivors and orphans, and make up for lost time in schools.

May 13, 2015

Second Quake Risks Emotional Scarring for Children

Nepal Earthquake
Nepal Earthquake

It could take years for some children affected by two deadly earthquakes in Nepal to emotionally recover from the disasters, fears Save the Children as aid agencies work around the clock to prepare communities for the upcoming monsoon season.

“Save the Children is extremely concerned about the emotional wellbeing of children affected by these two earthquakes, and the fear and distress they will feeling after having their lives ripped out from beneath them,” Save the Children Country Director Delilah Borja said.

“The second quake in particular has created a new level of terrifying uncertainty as those affected must now ask themselves if another deadly earthquake is coming.

“Families are opting to sleep in tents, makeshift shelters or out in the open once again rather than at home, either because their homes have been damaged or destroyed or because they are afraid of more aftershocks or another quake. In Kathmandu there are tents and tarps seemingly pitched everywhere. The golf course has become a tent city.”

The Government of Nepal is reporting that at least 65 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been injured following second quake, just two weeks after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed over 8,000 people.

Aid agencies like Save the Children are racing against time to reach the most vulnerable families ahead of the monsoon season, which is due to start within four to six weeks.

“Hundreds of thousands of people could still be homeless when the monsoon rains start, which has the potential to cause a new humanitarian crisis as the risk of disease and illness increases,” Ms Borja said.

“Save the Children is urgently working to distribute temporary shelter, food and water to those worst affected by the earthquakes, even via helicopter and donkey, and has already reached over 76,000 people. We need to be able to use morehelicopters, especially in remote areas, to support our relief effort.”

Save the Children has been working in Nepal since 1976, focusing on education, especially early childhood development and primary education, as well as basic health, including maternal child health and HIV and AIDS prevention and care. The aid agency runs programs in 63 districts of Nepal.

 
   

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