Today UNICEF released its annual State of the World’s Children report and this year they have placed a heavy emphasis on the data. In its report UNICEF says that when children are counted they automatically matter. We share their sentiments wholeheartedly. When children are counted then programs can be created and implemented to help them stay alive and healthy.
Take into consideration, for example, that poor children are 2.7 times less likely to be born with a skilled birth attendant. This, of course, means that more poor children around the world die due to circumstances that can easily be prevented because of interventions that work.
Consider that 11% of girls around the world are married before they are 15. This means more young girls die during childbirth. And, if they make it past childbirth they have a lesser chance of getting an education and even less of a chance of making sure their daughters get an education.
Also, think about this: Only 4% of babies born in Nigeria are registered at birth compared to 56% of babies in richer nations. Being registered means that babies are important and matter.
“Data have made it possible to save and improve the lives of millions of children, especially the most deprived,” said Tessa Wardlaw, Chief of UNICEF’s Data and Analytics Section. “Further progress can only be made if we know which children are the most neglected, where girls and boys are out of school, where disease is rampant or where basic sanitation is lacking.”
There is good news, however. Because of data 90 million more children live now than in 1990. There has been a 37% reduction in stunting rates around the world and more children are in primary school now than ever before.
So, yes, data does help keep children alive because without measured data and health trends there would be no starting or ending point to keep children alive and thriving.
Visit www.unicef.org/sowc2014/numbers to see a multimedia site with more data and to download the report.