Join our mailing list...

BLOG: Celebrating ‘5th Birthday and Beyond’

By • Jun 20th, 2014

Operation USA is proud to be a coalition partner in the ‘5th Birthday and Beyond’ campaign. Read on to learn why we’re helping to celebrate more 5th birthdays around the world, and what you can do to get involved!

For many families, a child’s fifth birthday is just one of many milestones to be celebrated in his/her young life. But, did you know that there is a staggering number of children around the world who never make it to the age of five? Millions of children’s lives are cut short each year due to poverty, hunger and disease. Despite major progress in global health (thanks in large part to the United States!) there are still 6.6 million children who will die this year, mainly from preventable diseases. Fortunately, there are steps each of us can take to help reduce the number of child deaths each year and continue to help more children worldwide not only to survive, but also to thrive, after the age of five.


Richard Walden, CEO of Operation USA, at five years old

Over the past two decades, the United States has played a leading role in preventing the deaths of millions of children under the age of five. This year, six million fewer children will die before their fifth birthday than just 25 years ago. U.S. foreign assistance has played a leading role in achieving these results, dramatically improving children’s health and survival worldwide. In just 12 short years, deaths from diseases such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, measles and AIDS have dropped significantly, according to data compiled by UNICEF.

The United States has also played a leading role in the reduction of sicknesses around the world. Today, 10 million people are walking, spared the crippling effects of polio thanks to the global polio eradication program led by the U.S. government, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and the Gates Foundation.*

With the support of the American people, U.S. foreign assistance programs have helped cut in half the annual number of deaths of children under five since 1990. These results are due in large part to the historic collaboration between the world’s governments, multilateral institutions and local players. In addition, diverse allies such as NGOs (like Operation USA), civic groups, faith and business communities, universities and philanthropies have come together to leverage billions more private dollars for overseas health and development programs.

While much progress has been made over the past 25 years, we still have far to go. An estimated 6.6 million children won’t reach their fifth birthday this year. That’s 18,000 children a day who still don’t reach that milestone. Forty-four percent of those deaths occur during the newborn period, and many are due to preventable diseases. Now is the time to re-commit our investments in life-saving programs, providing millions of children the opportunity to survive and thrive beyond their fifth birthday!

Five easy ways to get involved:
1) Visit 5thbdayandbeyond.org to get the facts, upload your fifth birthday photo and join the movement.
2) Make a donation in support of effective interventions such as bed nets, immunizations, anti-retroviral medications, clean water and toilets, better nutrition and quality care at birth.
3) Help us share this message on Facebook and help more children reach age five.
4) Show your support by sharing your commitment with the #5thbday tag on Twitter.
5) Research ‘5th Birthday and Beyond’ causes in your local community for opportunities to volunteer your time or get involved in hands-on projects.

To learn more about Operation USA’s commitment to programs supporting children around the world, click here.

*http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/