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Child Mortality: an everyday tragedy of enormous scale that we can make progress against

As I’ve written before, it is true that all three statements are true at the same time: The world is much better, the world is awful, the world can be

As I’ve written before, it is true that all three statements are true at the same time: The world is much better, the world is awful, the world can be much better.

Yet, from reading the news you wouldn’t know any of this. The news does not report on the ongoing daily tragedy of child mortality, nor on the fact that we live in the period in global history in which humanity is achieving the most rapid progress.

Looking into the future it is clear that we need to – and can – do much more. We are still in the very early stages of progress, even against the very worst global problems. The history of the last two centuries makes clear that we don’t have to accept the world as it is. 

We don’t have to accept a world in which 10 children die every minute. The research and data make clear that our generation has the possibility to achieve a world in which children everywhere can live a healthy life, no matter where in the world they are born.


By donating some of your money to an effective charity you can contribute to this historical progress against poor child health. If you want to help then your decision of where to give matters a lot. If you choose poorly you won’t help anyone (or even make things worse). If you choose well you can make a real difference.

The researchers at GiveWell do the important work of identifying the charities where your donation can make the biggest positive difference to the world. I trust their expertise. You find their recommended charities here: givewell.org/charities/top-charities 


Keep on reading on Our World in Data:

On Our World in Data you find much more research and data on why children die and how it is possible to increase child health. → You can find this work via our entry on child and infant mortality.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Hannah Ritchie for reading drafts of this text and for her helpful comments and ideas.