World Vision names the millions of children who die unseen and invisible

TORONTO, May 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Children are dying unseen, uncounted and invisible to the health services that could save their lives, according to a new report released today. World Vision's Uncounted and Unreached report details who the invisible victims of the child and maternal health tragedy are, where they are and why they are not being reached.

While child and maternal death rates have dropped faster in the last four years than ever before, World Vision's report highlights the invisible children who are still dying at alarming rates, and how they must be reached. Uncounted and Unreached identifies the uncounted children and women who are born and die without record or having ever accessed health services. It also highlights the invisible children and mothers who are marginalized because they live in fragile states and remote communities, their ethnicity or a disability pushes them to the fringes of their communities and, in many cases, they are orphaned or homeless.

Quotes from Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada:

"Great strides have been made in reducing child and maternal deaths, but the work is not done for the millions who still die from easily preventable causes. Right now we have an incredible opportunity to finish the job of ending preventable deaths—we know what works, we have the partnerships and expertise in place and, above all, we have momentum. We must turn our attention to those who have been missed so far because they are uncounted and invisible."

"This week's Global Health Summit is critical to plotting out the next steps to end preventable deaths beyond 2015.  Canada must lead the way by taking new action and putting new money on the table to reignite life-saving efforts, especially in the hardest to reach places where too many children are uncounted and invisible. Canada's leadership will push other countries, businesses, civil society and health leaders to ante up."

Quotes from Sara Schulz, senior policy advisor on child health for World Vision Canada:

"Counting every birth and death is common practice in countries like Canada, but in many poor, remote and troubled areas, it is rare. Even when children are registered at birth, risks such as disability, homelessness or trafficking can render them invisible. More than three million newborns die in their first month of life; many of them will never even exist on paper."

"Too many governments face huge data gaps and end up using inaccurate statistics to plan health care delivery. Weak data systems force local authorities to rely on national averages to make decisions about things like where and when clinics should be built, or where community health workers are needed most. We're looking for Canada to make further commitments towards investing in stronger civil registration and vital statistics to help mitigate these inaccuracies."


  • 6.6 million children under age five die each year, and many of these deaths are easily preventable.
  • 287,000 women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth from preventable causes.
  • 56 per cent of child and maternal deaths take place in fragile states.
  • One third of all children under the age of five are not registered at birth. This means more than 230 million children are unknown and unseen by their governments and health services.

Media Resources:
VIDEO of children and mothers receiving healthcare
VIDEO of data collection
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Link to report:

Who are the "Uncounted and Invisible"?

  • Children not registered at birth or death
  • Mothers and newborns who die in childbirth
  • Indigenous children and ethnic minorities
  • Orphaned and homeless children
  • Refugee, stateless and internally displaced children
  • Children living with disabilities
  • Child labourers and trafficked children

The Vital Signs: Data all governments should be gathering:

  1. Fertility rates
  2. Access to antenatal care
  3. HIV treatment for pregnant mothers
  4. Skilled attendant at birth
  5. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months
  6. Live birth registration
  7. Deaths during childbirth
  8. Maternal mortality
  9. Access to post-natal care
  10. Under-five child mortality
  11. Number of stunted children
  12. Immunization coverage
  13. Population numbers
  14. Unmet need for contraception
  15. Treatment for pneumonia
  16. Disease and disability reports
  17. Death registration
  18. Cause of death reports


World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at

SOURCE: World Vision Canada

For further information: Media Contacts: Tiffany Baggetta - cell: 416-305-9612,; Britt Hamilton - cell: 416-419-1321,


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