Child Health

Today, and every day across the globe, roughly 16,000 children under 5 years old will die from common illnesses that can be prevented and treated. Children born into poverty are almost twice as likely to die before age 5 as those from wealthier families.

Saving Children on the Front Lines

Save the Children has been at the forefront of global child survival for more than 25 years. Our signature child health programs contribute to saving thousands of children’s lives every year. We are proud to have played a role in the remarkable 53 percent decline in child mortality that, between 1990 and 2015, saved the lives of 48 million children worldwide. But millions of vulnerable children still do not benefit from the simple and affordable care and treatments that would allow them to live beyond their fifth birthdays. Save the Children has committed to partnering with governments and key stakeholders to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030 of ending preventable deaths and meeting the child survival target of 25 deaths per 1,000 live births.

To meet this goal, Save the Children is dedicated to increasing the use of evidence-based child survival interventions delivered close to the community. We train and support frontline health workers and strengthen systems to deliver cost-effective immunizations and treatments to the most marginalized children. Our work in more than 20 countries promotes rapid care seeking and stimulates demand for services. We work with key technical and donor partners to increase access to life-saving drugs; improve quality of care; and enable families, communities and governments to improve the health of children under 5.

Lifesaving Care for Sick Children

For children under the age of 5 who survive beyond the first month of life, the three biggest causes of mortality globally are pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. Children can fall seriously ill 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Families who live in communities far from health centers, or who are socially marginalized or economically deprived, cannot always access life-saving treatment when their children need it most.


To address childhood pneumonia, the leading infectious cause of mortality in children under 5 worldwide, and to help inform and promote evidence-based interventions, Save the Children’s child health team is conducting pneumonia innovations research in low-resource settings. We are evaluating key prevention approaches, diagnostic/prognostic innovations and treatment strategies critical to effectively reducing deaths from childhood pneumonia In Bangladesh, Kenya and Malawi, employing a variety of study methodologies (e.g., implementation research, clinical trials) at both the facility and community levels.

Integrated Community Case Management

Community health worker trained in CCM treats child with suspected pneumonia in Bangladesh.

Save the Children is a leader in integrated community case management (CCM), a broadly endorsed global strategy to reduce deaths from pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. We support health systems, partners and communities to train, supply, supervise, monitor and mentor community health workers who assess illness and deliver curative care close to where children live. We are a founding member of the global CCM Task Force and its Steering Committee, and core member of the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea Prevention and Control (GAPP-D).

Pioneering in Immunization

Save the Children outreach officers assist the South Sudan Ministry of Health and World Health Organization with vaccination campaign.

Over the past 25 years, Save the Children has made important contributions to the success of childhood immunization efforts, including drives to eradicate polio, often in some of the most difficult and remote settings, where government immunization activities are weak. We seek to increase routine immunization coverage, and/or support the rollout of newer vaccines recently introduced with support from Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, in selected countries where we have substantial ongoing health programming. Save the Children focuses on countries where a substantial proportion of districts have low immunization coverage and targets districts with the lowest coverage.

Fighting against Malaria

Community health worker tests child’s blood for malaria.

The Global Fund has been at the forefront of the worldwide effort to fight HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Save the Children Global Fund activities include:

  • Myanmar: In January 2011, Save the Children became the principal recipient of Global Fund financing designed to halve malaria illness and death by the end 2015. We estimate that we provided malaria-related services to roughly 41 million people.
  • Nepal: Following on this success, in 2015 we also became the principal recipient for malaria financing in Nepal, to assist the Government to implement evidence-based interventions and realize the goal of total malaria elimination.
  • Ivory Coast: Since January 2016, Save the Children is the principal recipient for the community component of the Ivory Coast Global Fund program. The two-year project supports the government, local NGOs and communities in 20 regions to implement strategies to increase the use of life saving preventative and curative malaria interventions.

Finally, Save the Children is active on the USAID-funded MalariaCare partnership to scale up high-quality diagnosis of and strengthen case management of malaria and other life-threatening diseases in focus countries of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative.

For more information, see Child Health resources.

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