The death of a child is a tragic loss. Yet, every year, almost 11 million children die before their fifth birthday. Child mortality is closely linked to poverty: advances in infant and child survival have come more slowly to people in poor countries and to the poorest people in wealthier countries. Improvements in public-health services are key, including safe water and better sanitation. Raising incomes can help, but little will be achieved unless services reach those who need them most.
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Education, especially for girls and mothers, saves
children's lives. Educated women have more economic opportunities and engage
more fully in public life. As mothers, they tend to have fewer and healthier
children who are more likely to attend school. All of these benefits are key to
breaking the cycle of poverty.
Education gives people choices regarding the kind of
lives they wish to lead. However for more than 115 million children of primary
school age who are out of school, this human right is being denied.
The education crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa is made worse
by the impact of AIDS. In 1999 alone, nearly 1 million children in that region
lost their teachers to AIDS. The cumulative effect of these death has been
placing an untenable burden on many countries that already lacked sufficient
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Once children are enrolled, it is important that they
stay in school and receive an education that prepares them for life. School
enrolment and attendance can be improved by reducing or eliminating school fees,
providing school lunches, improving the quality of teaching and bringing
schooling closer to home.