One Year Later: Was the Child Survival Call to Action Worth It?

June 18, 2013
by Alison Root, Senior Associate, ACTION Secretariat

One year ago, RESULTS and ACTION participated in an effort to reinvigorate momentum to save children’s lives. The Child Survival Call to Action — co-hosted by the governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States — may have been the shot in the arm that we needed to end preventable child deaths.

Since then, over 174 countries have signed the Promise Renewed pledge along with 400 civil society organizations and 2,000 individuals.

With less than 1,000 days left to achieve the MDGs, MDG 4 to reduce child mortality is still out of reach for many countries, and urgent action is needed to translate pledges into progress. Over the past year there has been a flurry of activity on child health. There have been country summits on child health, the launch of global plans to address pneumonia, diarrhea and newborn health, and the release of new data on malnutrition. Many of these developments over the past year have established incredible foundations.

But what we need now is to build on the evidence base, action plans, and political attention, and mobilize the resources to get to work. Last weekend, the Nutrition for Growth summit generated an additional $4.15 billion to directly tackle undernutrition by 2020. That’s a step in the right direction — especially considering nutrition receives only .4 percent of all overseas development assistance, despite killing 3.1 million children each year.

Increased, targeted resources are needed to reach children across the continuum of care with an integrated package of services to end preventable child deaths — one intervention at a time won’t cut it.

Our friend and ally Nicole Shiegg is right — it was all worth it. But when we look back on the Call to Action, it will be judged by its ultimate goal — to end preventable child deaths by 2035. Let’s first get through delivering on what we promised to achieve by 2015. We have the tools, we have the evidence, we now need to translate the momentum into action.

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