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International Community Must Sustain Progress In Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

In this post in the Huffington Post’s “World” blog, Cecilia Attias, former first lady of France and president and founder of the Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women, responds to a recent paper, published by the World Bank, which discusses significant declines in infant and under-five mortality in Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa. She writes, “Africa’s swift economic growth has become a familiar story; but the fact that fewer children are dying than before — that people’s lives are getting better on the ground — is arguably more heartening than accounts of improvements in African industry or infrastructure or business (though the trends are probably connected).”

She notes, “The fall in infant mortality rates is widespread across the continent, in countries large and small, Muslim and Christian,” adding, “The figures will bring many countries into line with the Millennium Development Goals, set out more than a decade ago with the ambitious hope of reducing infant deaths by two thirds between 1990 and 2015; and some countries, at this rate, may surpass them.” She concludes, “Such widespread progress is great to hear about and it’s also something we need to sustain. Children are the weakest and most vulnerable among us — and the extent to which the global community stands by when they suffer says something about us all. We must aim to create a future in which infant mortality plays no part” (5/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.