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Semin Perinatol. 2015 Aug;39(5):373-86. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Enhancing the child survival agenda to promote, protect, and support early child development.

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Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College, London, UK.
Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Department of Medicine (Infectious Disease), University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Department of Pediatrics, and March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:


High rates of child mortality and lost developmental potential in children under 5 years of age remain important challenges and drivers of inequity in the developing world. Substantive progress has been made toward Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 to improve child survival, but as we move into the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, much more work is needed to ensure that all children can realize their full and holistic physical, cognitive, psychological, and socio-emotional development potential. This article presents child survival and development as a continuous and multifaceted process and suggests that a life-course perspective of child development should be at the core of future policy making, programming, and research. We suggest that increased attention to child development, beyond child survival, is key to operationalize the sustainable development goals (SDGs), address inequities, build on the demographic dividend, and maximize gains in human potential. An important step toward implementation will be to increase integration of existing interventions for child survival and child development. Integrated interventions have numerous potential benefits, including optimization of resource use, potential additive impacts across multiple domains of health and development, and opportunity to realize a more holistic approach to client-centered care. However, a notable challenge to integration is the continued division between the health sector and other sectors that support child development. Despite these barriers, empirical evidence is available to suggest that successful multisectoral coordination is feasible and leads to improved short- and long-term outcomes in human, social, and economic development.


Child survival; Coordination; Early child development; Integration; Intervention; Life-course perspective; Risk factors; Scaling up

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