Health Research Program

Although the number of deaths of children under five has decreased dramatically, around 15,000 children under five still die each day.

This pie chart shows the top causes of death among children under 5 years from 2016 WHO data

Disparities in child survival remain high between developed and developing countries. A child born in sub-Saharan Africa is 14 times more likely to die before age five than one born in a high income country.3 Globally, the major causes of death in children under five include pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhea and malaria. Many of these deaths could be prevented with simple, affordable interventions.

USAID’s Health Research Program is committed to using implementation research to prevent child deaths and improve child health outcomes. The Program supports Verbal and Social Autopsy studies that aim to provide up-to-date information on the causes and determinants of deaths among children under five and to assist policymakers and program managers to develop more effective child health programs and strategies. Also, the Child Health Country Perspectives study seeks to understand the effectiveness of leadership and stakeholder networks in improving child health in three sub- Saharan African countries.