How to help children survive and thrive

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to save children's lives, to defend their rights and to help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

Through its many lifesaving interventions and programs, UNICEF works to reach vulnerable children wherever they are. These efforts have helped the world achieve dramatic reductions in child mortality — since 1990, the number of deaths among children under age 5 has dropped by 60 percent. 

But there is much more work to be done. Tens of thousands of children still die every day from preventable or treatable causes related to poor nutrition, unsafe water or a lack of basic health care and other essential services. A significant proportion of these child deaths occur in places affected by conflict and other humanitarian emergencies.

How UNICEF is working to save children's lives

Through its many public and private partnerships, and operating at the global, national and community levels, UNICEF engages in a number of activities, including:

  • ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by scaling up essential care services

  • strengthening immunization programs to make sure every child is reached with lifesaving vaccines

  • responding to disease outbreaks 

  • building resilience within health systems to ensure that services can continue, even during a crisis

  • supporting early child development programs to make sure babies are getting what they need for a healthy start in life

Awa Nadege, 26, practices kangaroo care at UNICEF-supported Limbe Regional Hospital in southwest Cameroon. A warm cuddle can be lifesaving for a premature baby, helping to regulate breathing and body temperature and encouraging bonding between parent and newborn. © UNICEF/UN0419322/Dejongh

  • supporting adolescent health and well being — both physical and mental — including children with disabilities

  • expanding access to HIV testing and treatment and preventing mother-to-child transmission to help advance toward an AIDS-free world

  • improving access to safe water and sanitation

  • promoting and enabling best hygiene practices like handwashing and toilet use to reduce the spread of disease

  • delivering emergency relief whenever and wherever disaster strikes, to protect children and families and assist with recovery

UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. Help UNICEF continue to provide vulnerable children around the world with the support and services they need to reach their full potential.

100% of your donation is tax-deductible.