Closing the gaps in child health in the Pacific: An achievable goal in the next 20 years

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Abstract

It is not inconceivable that by 2035 the substantial gaps in child health across the Pacific can close significantly. Currently, Australia and New Zealand have child mortality rates of 5 and 6 per 1000 live births, respectively, while Pacific island developing nations have under 5 mortality rates ranging from 13 to 16 (Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga) to 47 and 58 per 1000 live births (Kiribati and Papua New Guinea, respectively). However, these Pacific child mortality rates are falling, by an average of 1.4% per year since 1990, and more rapidly (1.9% per year) since 2000. Based on progress elsewhere, there is a need to (i) define the specific things needed to close the gaps in child health; (ii) be far more ambitious and hopeful than ever before; and (iii) form a new regional compact based on solidarity and interdependence.

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