Photo of the Month: October Backstory

18-year-old Tasmin, who is from the country of Bangladesh in South Asia, holds her first child, a healthy baby girl.  In keeping with tradition, she has come straight from the hospital to her parents’ home, where she will recover for several days before returning to her husband’s family.

Bangladesh has made much progress toward Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number four, to reduce by two-thirds the number of children under five who die of preventable causes.  The MDGs – there are eight in all – are a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015.  The number of deaths in children under five worldwide declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012, which translates into about 17,000 fewer children dying each day.

Despite progress, the high rate of poverty in Bangladesh makes it a challenge to save young lives.  When this photo was taken, about 30 million children in Bangladesh were living in poverty and one-third of infants were born underweight.  In the region of Southern Asia, one in six children die before the age of five.

UNICEF supports programs to reduce the deaths of infants and their mothers, and to improve the health of pregnant women. UNICEF also supports immunization programs, water and sanitation projects, and early childhood education, especially for girls.  All of these programs lead to healthier children and families.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2006-2706/Shehzad Noorani