Forty Countries Are Behind the Curve in Reducing Child-Death Rates: New empty tomb, inc. Analysis

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A new analysis of UNICEF and World Health Organization published documents, by empty tomb, inc., found 40 countries are not on target to meet child-death reduction goals. An estimated 1.3 million children under five will die from preventable causes in 2017 due to missed goals.

Forty countries are behind the curve in reducing Under-Age-5 Mortality Rates (U5MR), according to a new empty tomb, inc. analysis.

The analysis is based on published UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) data for the now-completed 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

In 1990 and again in 2000, over 180 world governments "promised the children of the world" to reduce the global U5MR, according to UNICEF.

By 2015, according to a UNICEF and WHO report, although progress had been made toward reducing child deaths, the goal had not been reached.

Further U5MR reduction goals were set for 2030 and 2035.

Now, a new analysis by the Christian research and service organization, empty tomb, inc., finds that 40 of 75 countries are not on track to meet the latest goal.

The difference between the goal and actual rate of reduction is labeled the Promise Gap by empty tomb.

In 2017, according to empty tomb estimates, 1.3 million children under the age of five will be caught in this Promise Gap, and, as a result, die before their fifth birthdays.

The largest causes of death among children under age five include preventable conditions such as pneumonia and diarrhea, according to UNICEF and WHO.

"In many tragic situations," empty tomb states, "one group of people, to gain a particular end, is purposefully inflicting pain on another group. In those situations, to defend the victims requires confronting those inflicting pain."

However, what makes the lack of progress in the child death rate particularly horrible, according to empty tomb, is that no group is benefitting from or fighting for these deaths.

Experts say these deaths could be easily prevented. For example, experts at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health have concluded that the U5MR reduction is "not an unreachable pipe dream."

That means, according to the empty tomb analysis, people of good will are promoting these unnecessary and preventable child deaths through neglect.

Further, empty tomb asserts that church people are particularly responsible for this most heinous situation, not the least because they say they believe that Jesus loves the little children of the world.

empty tomb cites the observation by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam: "I can imagine a purely secular movement to improve inequality, but it’s unlikely. It’s one thing to say inequality and youth poverty are inefficient or bad; it’s another to say it’s a sin. And secular people can’t say it’s a sin."

In its most recent analysis of church member giving, empty tomb calculated that church members in the U.S. control, through their incomes, the equivalent of the third largest GDP in the world, after the U.S. as a whole, and China, and before Japan.

Church structures also have delivery channels globally. John Nduna, general secretary of ACT Alliance, has observed, "…crucially, when the emergency is over, and the funds run out, churches continue to be present; they are the organization at the end of the street or village, which remain when all others have gone."

And a 2015 World Bank study of faith-based health delivery systems in sub-Saharan Africa explained, "Here, we review the available evidence with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Christian FBHPs [faith-based health providers] because little evidence is available for other contexts or other kinds of faith-based groups at present."

With delivery channels in place, and the potential resources to support the efforts, empty tomb concludes that historically Christian churches in the U.S. have the particular responsibility to mobilize giving by Christians in order to close the Promise Gap between the world goals set for U5MR reduction, and the actual rate of reduction in 40 countries.

The full empty tomb analysis is scheduled to be published in the 27th edition in The State of Church Giving series, scheduled for Fall 2017.

A list of the 40 countries is available on request.

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Sylvia Ronsvalle
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