Calls to end preventable deaths caused by pneumonia at Bangladesh’s Race for Survival

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Children in Bangladesh completed the Race for Survival on 23rd October in a time of 2h2m, beating the world record set by Patrick Makau at 2h3m38s.

The race took place in Sylhet Division, one of the most underserved and underperforming regions in Bangladesh in terms of child survival, with the highest rate of children dying before their fifth birthday. Over 100 children took part in the race, to generate awareness on pneumonia and call on the government to help end this preventable killer of children. The event was attended by Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer of Kulaura of Sylhet Division.

Additionally, these children were also calling for greater equity in healthcare quality and access. A new report by Save the Children, “Lives on the Line”, revealed that a child born into a family in the poorest 40 per cent of the population is twice as likely to die as a child born into the top 10 per cent. Although progress is being made nationally to reduce deaths of children under 5, benefits are not equitably distributed across regions or socioeconomic groups in Bangladesh.

“In order to continue making progress in preventing child deaths, the government urgently needs to tackle deaths due to pneumonia and the causes of newborn death, which accounts for 60 percent of all under 5 deaths,” said Michael Foley, Director of Health and Nutrition for Save the Children in Bangladesh. “More than 80,000 deaths occur within the first month of life here, and significant attention and investment will be necessary to achieve the government’s goal to end preventable child deaths by 2030.”

Save the Children has run health and nutrition programs in remote and rural areas of Bangladesh for decades, strengthening health services, promoting safe delivery , exclusive breastfeeding of children up to six months, as well as timely and appropriate care seeking for mothers and children from medically qualified health care providers. 

The children’s charity also advocates for the adoption of evidenced based interventions, the deployment of additional health workers where there is the greatest need and nationwide vaccination of children. 


By Taskin Rahman