Saima bursts into tears when laboratory assistant Madina Felicidade makes a stab on her finger and squeezes a drop of blood out of it. Felicidade carries out regular malaria tests on children aged under five at a Mozambican health clinic. The tests are one reason why fewer and fewer children in the world are dying of infectious diseases.
Reducing child mortality was one of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. Mortality among children under the age of five was halved between 1990 and 2015. The number of children succumbing to malaria dropped by more than one third between 2010 and 2015. Malaria tests, drugs and methods for combating mosquitoes have brought about a substantial reduction in malaria deaths.
Vaccinations have also greatly improved child health in developing countries. A total of 227 million children were vaccinated between 2011 and 2016 with the support of IDA, a World Bank fund targeting the poorest countries of the world. Finland has taken part in the vaccination programme by providing IDA with funding. For example, measles vaccinations have reduced the number of people catching the disease by 67 per cent over a period of 25 years.
Photo: Liisa Takala, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta