UN Millennium Development Goal 4: Reduction of Child Mortality

UN Millennium Declaration:

“By the year 2015, we will have reduced under-five child mortality by two-thirds”.


– Child mortality is decreasing

– Still, more than 20.000 children under the age of five die every day 

– Common causes for death: pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria

– Child mortality is high in 67 countries, of which only 10 can, with the current pace of change, achieve the goal set for 2015. 

– Child mortality is at its highest in sub-Saharan Africa. 

What affects child mortality: 

– Sufficient and healthy nutrition

– Access to clean water

– Hygiene

– Vaccinations and access to healthcare

– Lack of education for girls and women

(UNA of Finland. Printed material. 2014). 

In Finland, child mortality today is one of the lowest in the world, thanks to national vaccination (campaigns). In the beginning of the 20th century, every second child born in Helsinki died before the age of five. In the late 1930´s almost every 10th born child in Finland died under the age of one. 40 % of these children died of birth-related injuries, development misplacements or innate weakness. Today, in Finland, only a few per mille children under the age of one die, most commonly due to inborn deformities. (UNA of Finland. 2014; Statistics Finland. Quoted 8.5.2014).

UNICEF, United Nations Children´s Fund, is the world´s most influential organization supporting children (under the age of 18) in need. Founded in 1946, after the 2nd world war, UNICEF focuses on helping children. A year after its foundation, the organization launched its first vaccination campaign. At that time, Finland was among the countries receiving aid from the UNICEF. In the year of the Helsinki Olympics, 1952, UNICEF began its battle against malaria, and in 1965 UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Price. In 1988, UNICEF is working on launching a worldwide society working on abolishing polio. Once again, in 1998, UNICEF rises up to continue the battle against malaria. In 2006, UNICEF is one of the most important emergency aid givers, despite of the fact that still 80 % of the fund´s budget can be used to long-term development work.

(UNICEF Finland. Quoted 8.5.2014).

To fully understand the universal rights of children (everyone under the age of 18), please visit:

UNITED NATIONS Human Rights => Convention on the Rights of the Child

Since we cannot assume that children under the age of 18 are (fully) aware of their rights as children, especially if living in conditions where they may not even have access to education, it is necessary for adults to protect the rights of children.

The world has long ago made a promise to do everything to protect and to promote the rights of children, their survival, learning and growth, and listening to children. Despite of much progress made, there are still problems all over the world concerning the rights of children, and in some regions the situation may even have gotten worse. 2014 has been declared as a year of innovation at UNICEF, whereby the fund activates change-makers everywhere to rethink and drive improved results. (UNICEF. Quoted 8.5.2014).

In addition to the many local offices of UNICEF around the world, there are other independent organizations working to improve the life of children worldwide. These include Plan, World Vision, Save the Children and many others.



Virtues And Sins Part VII: Temperance vs. Gluttony

We live in a world affected by gluttony. To be precise, the world is not affected by gluttony, but many of the people living on this planet. This is a fact in many areas of people´s lives, but in this post I am going to focus on nutrition.

According to the WHO, worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980. Today, more than 1.4 billion adults out of 7,2 billion are overweight – nearly 20 % of all people. 35 % of adults aged 20+ were overweight (BMI >25) in 2008, and 11 % were obese (BMI >30). Out of these, 65 % of world population live in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight.

Furthermore, overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for deaths globally. Each year, almost 3 million adults die due to overweight or obesity in addition to the fact that many diseases, including diabetes, diverse heart diseases and certain cancer burdens are interlinked with obesity.

The cause of overweight and obesity is an energy imbalance between calory consumption and expansion. Worldwide, energy-dense foods high in fat, are increasingly being consumed. Moreover, physical inactivity is becoming more common due to diverse reasons such as increased urbanization. Who is responsible? The individual personally? Or society? WHO´s research indicates that changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often results of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors including health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing and education.

Individually people have the possibility to limit energy intake from total fats and sugars (and prefer healthy fats), consume more fruit and vegetables, whole grains and nuts, and exercise regularly.

People must have access to a healthy lifestyle. At a societal level, therefore, people should have the possibility to live in a supportive environment, enabled through sustained political commitment and the collaboration between public and private stakeholders. Physical activity and healthy diets should be available, affordable, and easily accessible to everyone, including the poorest people.

In general, the food industry plays a significant role in the promotion of healthy diets, e.g. by:

– Reducing fat, sugar, and salt contents in processed foods

– Ensuring healthy and nutritious food to be available and affordable to everyone

– Practicing responsible marketing

(Source: WHO. Quoted 17.3.2014).

“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide”. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

Simultaneously to the global overweight and obesity crisis, almost one billion people worldwide are undernourished. Developing countries account for 98 % of the world´s undernourished people. 2/3 of these live in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, out of which over 40 % live in China and India alone. Sub-Saharan Africa, with its 30 % share, remains highest on the list of undernourished people. Today, Sub-Saharan Africa produces less food per person than it did 30 years ago. The number of undernourished people in the region has more than doubled since 1970.

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), these numbers indicate a deeper structural problem threatening the ability to achieve internationally agreed goals on worldwide hunger reduction. FAO suggests governments to increase investments in agriculture, expand safety nets, social assistance programmes, and enhance income-generating activities for the poor in rural and urban areas.

Furthermore, the World Food Summit and the FAO indicate that the rapid growth in agricultural production during the past decades has enabled the world to produce enough food to provide every individual with more than 2700 Kcal per day. This level is more than sufficient to feed the whole world population. (Source: FAO/The World Bank Institute. Quoted 17.3.2014).

It seems that the imbalance (number of overweight/obese people vs. undernourished people worldwide) is caused and affected by several different attributes, including not only inefficient and poor infrastructure in some countries, but also a general lack of will to improve nutrition-related issues in many countries. How should these problems be solved?