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Progress shows reducing global child deaths goals reachable: new empty tomb book

empty tomb, inc.

Progress has been made on reducing the death rate among under-age-5 children globally, and empty tomb analysis shows churches can give the boost needed to reach target goals.

Figure 21 from empty tomb’s latest edition, The State of Church Giving through 2018, shows progress has been made on reducing the rate of global child deaths.

In 1990, 93 children under age five died for every 1,000 live births.  That number was reduced to 39 by 2018.

The World Health Organization has labeled this progress “substantial” toward reaching target reduction goals.

However, empty tomb’s analysis of goals set by world leaders in 1990 and 2000 finds that the “promise” (their word) made to the world’s children to reach target reduction goals in the child death rate have not yet been met.

Data analyzed by empty tomb suggests that the number of children under age five dying around the world would have been 4.1 million in 2018 if the reduction goals had been met.  Instead, the number of children under age five who died in 2018 was 5.3 million.

That means, according to empty tomb calculations, 1.2 million children under five died in 2018 who would have lived if those target reduction goals had been met.

The Gates Foundation has been a leader in this area.  While pointing to the reduction in child deaths, a report on the foundation’s Web site notes, “The global community has achieved significant gains in maternal and newborn health, but progress has slowed and is not evenly distributed around the world.”

The World Health Organization has issued a call to move from “business as usual” to increase the amount of progress being made.

Churches, empty tomb has concluded, can give the needed boost to meet target reduction goals by 2025.  To that end, empty tomb has designed its Mission Match® effort.

Mission Match helps tap the potential among churches to impact this need.  Churches in the U.S. continue to have access to distribution channels in many of the areas where the children are dying. 

Individual congregations can choose the distribution channel they want to support, and apply for matching funds at

Currently, empty tomb is seeking ten leader congregations to demonstrate increased progress.

In addition,  it will take many thousands of congregations to make the reduction goals a reality.  Therefore, empty tomb is also seeking venture philanthropists to help get Mission Match “on steroids” in the effort to mobilize many more churches to reach out in Jesus’ name and increase help for the children who are dying from treatable causes.

The State of Church Giving through 2018: What If Jesus Comes Back in 2025? is the 30th edition in the empty tomb series, and is available from Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Congregations in the U.S. from historically Christian traditions can apply for matching funds at for their projects to help, in Jesus’ name, reduce global child deaths.


Reference Resources:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; “Maternal, Newborn & Child Health”; Quote from page 5 (accessed 4/24/21 2:22 PM).

World Health Organization; “Children: Improving Survival and Well-Being”; 9/8/2020.  Quotes from pp. 2 and 6 (accessed 4/24/2021 2:24 PM).

Sylvia Ronsvalle
empty tomb, inc.
(217) 356-9519
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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