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Leading the World in the Race for Survival

Leading the World in the Race for Survival

“It’s a race with a message. Growing up is hard enough. It shouldn’t be a race for survival,” says Save the Children New Zealand’s Chief Executive Heather Hayden.

New Zealand children will be the first in the world to run in today’s Race for Survival. They are competing with over 50,000 children from 67 countries running in relay teams aiming to break the world marathon record. As the centrepiece for Save the Children’s Global Day of Action for Child Survival, the race aims to raise awareness about the millions of children under-five dying from preventable causes every year.

Students from Auckland International College; Christchurch’s Cobham Intermediate, Hoon Hay Primary School and Hillview Christian School; Whangarei’s Kamo Intermediate and Wellington’s Raroa Intermediate are running in this global event.

“Dramatic global progress is being made in saving children’s lives,” says Save the Children New Zealand’s Chief Executive Heather Hayden. “We are now at an historic tipping point where ending preventable child deaths is within our grasp. But this historic opportunity is at risk from two challenges: the poorest children are being excluded and too many children are still not surviving the first month of life.”

Save the Children’s latest report, Lives on the Line, shows Niger leads the world on tackling child deaths, but globally four million more lives could have been saved if governments’ efforts had focused equally on the poorest children.

For the first time the research uncovers not just how quickly countries are advancing, but also whether progress is equitable - across different social, regional and income groups – and sustainable, in terms of political will.

Niger tops the index thanks to a combination of free healthcare for pregnant women and children, nutrition programmes and a drive for universal access to basic quality healthcare. Although child mortality remains high, the country has reduced it from 326 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 1990, to 114 deaths per 1,000 in 2012.

Save the Children is calling upon governments to:

- publish and implement costed national healthcare plans that reach every child, including newborns, with the objective of reaching full coverage by 2030

- launch a national campaign to reduce malnutrition so that every child has the nutrition they need to survive and thrive

- increase public spending on health.

-

ENDS

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