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Countdown to 2015: will the Millennium Development Goal for child survival be met?
  1. Joy E Lawn1,
  2. Anthony Costello2,
  3. Charles Mwansambo3,
  4. David Osrin2
  1. 1Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2UCL Centre for International Health and Development, London, UK
  3. 3Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Anthony Costello
    Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK;A.costello{at}


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ratified by most nations in 2000, set specific targets for poverty reduction, eradication of hunger, education, gender equality, health and environmental sustainability. MDG 4 aims to reduce child mortality with a target of reducing under-five mortality rates by two thirds over the period 1990–2015. Over the last year, Live Aid, Make Poverty History, the G8 summits and prominent entertainers have directed unprecedented attention towards development and health. Africa particularly has been in the spotlight. Reports are published and commitments are made, but is there real progress? Are poor people being reached with essential health care? Who will hold leaders to account: celebrities, activists or health professionals?

  • DHS, Demographic and Health Surveys
  • MDGs, Millennium Development Goals

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  • Joy Lawn is supported though a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Saving Newborn Lives/Save the Children-US. We thank the UK Department for International Development for their support for a Research Programme Consortium directed jointly by the UCL Centre for International Health and Development at the Institute of Child Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

  • Competing interests: None.

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