Reducing Child Mortality in Liberia
Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (right) and Minister of Gender and Development Julia Duncan Cassell visit with children in ChildFund’s programs in Liberia.
ChildFund has worked in the west African nation of Liberia for the past decade to ensure that children and families have the support and resources they need to emerge from poverty. With approximately 80 percent of Liberia's population of 4.1 million living below the poverty line, child mortality is one of the country's most serious problems. However, during the past several years, great strides have been made in reducing child mortality in Liberia, and with your support, we can make an even greater difference.
In Liberia, poor sanitation, food scarcity and malnutrition all play a role in the country's child mortality rate. However, through the work of various international governments, aid organizations like ChildFund and the United Nations, there has been much success in reducing the number of Liberian children who die before their fifth birthday. In 2010, the infant and under-5 mortality rates were 58 and 78 per 1,000 live births respectively, which represents a decline of more than 68 percent since 1990, the highest rate of annual improvement in Africa. This is even more amazing considering that Liberia was burdened with a 14-year war, which ended in 2003.
Liberia recently celebrated its 166th year of independence, and the country is united in its objective of reducing child mortality and meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015.
"The government of Liberia and its people should be very proud of their significant progress and leadership toward ending preventable child deaths," Deborah Malac, the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, said recently at a press conference to coincide with the launch of the country's "A Promise Renewed" campaign to end preventable child deaths. "The United States government has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to assess the health needs of Liberian mothers and children, and have aligned our programs to meet Liberia's goals. By working together, we can save children's lives and build a stronger Liberia."
The campaign, which Liberia joined in June 2012, is a global movement initiated by the governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States, in partnership with UNICEF.
Every Step of the Way
ChildFund works with community leaders and local partners across Liberia to empower families and protect children. Our initiatives have resulted in improved sanitation in deprived areas, more secure food sources, heightened nutritional awareness among families through our early childhood development centers and many other successes.
However, there are still challenges ahead of us. Neonatal mortality remains unnecessarily high, and without continued support, many Liberian families will struggle to survive. One of the most effective ways you can help us prevent child deaths in Liberia and other countries in need is by making a donation to our Children's Greatest Needs fund. This enables us to intervene where help is needed most and provide children and their families with the resources and support they need to live more fulfilling lives.