15,000 children die each day from conditions which are avoidable or preventable.
2.4 million babies died within the first month of life in 2019.
Cutting the UK’s overseas aid budget will result in a significant number of children dying “with negative impacts lasting generations”, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has said.
The RCPCH said the evidence was overwhelming that aid helped children’s health and the reduction of overseas aid funding from 0.7% to 0.5% of Britain’s gross national income, would have far-reaching consequences.
The International Child Health Group, a speciality group within the RCPCH, explained, “The collateral impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is causing severe disruption to preventive and curative health services in the poorest settings, particularly for children. Estimates suggest that more than a million excess child deaths could occur as a result. To reduce our commitment further, just as global needs intensify, will result in significant further loss of life, with negative impacts lasting generations.”
The RCPCH said: “In the rich world, we are largely insulated from the horror of children dying needlessly. These rates of death are neither inevitable nor natural.”
The positive impact aid could have was demonstrated by research showing that a 1% increase in health aid reduces infant deaths by 2.6% in sub-Saharan Africa, and that for every additional aid dollar allocated to malaria control, the rate of child infection and death falls, the RCPCH said.
“Put simply, aid saves children’s lives and can set them on a path to life-long health,” the statement said.