Our closer examination of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals continues with MDG 4. Millennium Development Goal 4 seeks to Reduce Child Mortality. It's target, as outlined by the UN, is to reduce, by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the mortality rate of children under five. Still today, almost 9 million children die each year before reaching their fifth birthday.
MADRE's approach to reducing child mortality is illustrated in MADRE's project in Nicaragua, Women Waterkeepers. In many countries such as Nicaragua, lack of access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare, coupled with malnutrition and disease, account for the large majority of child deaths. As the United Nations states, "pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and AIDS accounted for 43 percent of all deaths of under-fives worldwide in 2008, and more than a third of all child deaths were attributable to undernutrition". In the case of Nicaragua, seasonal flooding pollutes the local water supply, bringing diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery. For children, these diseases, and even a simple case of diarrhea, can be fatal. In an effort to improve access to clean water, sanitation infrastructure, and healthcare, MADRE and our local parter, Wangki Tangni, trained Indigenous women and family members how to maintain wells and latrines. Public health seminars and radio and theatre programs also emphasized the importance of a clean-water culture.
These women, with the help of MADRE and Wagnki Tangni, were able to create a clean-water infrastructure in their Nicaraguan communities, thereby reducing the number of disease-related child deaths and reducing child mortality.
Click here to read the MADRE Talking Points on the Millennium Development Goals: Five Years Left.