What do you think is the biggest killer of children under five years old?

Global Citizen staff posed this question to dozens of people on the streets of Evanston, IL. There were some blank looks, a few quick google searches, and some hurried attempts at humor.

Here are a few of the most memorable guesses!

Image: Judith Rowland

Image: Judith Rowland

Image: Judith Rowland

Image: Judith Rowland

Image: Judith Rowland

The right answer is: pneumonia and diarrhea.

Every year, 1.5 million kids lose their lives from these diseases that are completely preventable and curable. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Children (and adults) will most likely always get diarrhea but they do not have to die from it.  Pneumonia, although common, is also entirely preventable. Simple interventions like sanitary toilets, nutrition, and vaccines can protect kids from these child killers.

There is a plan to reduce child death from preventable illnesses: the Global Goals. These 17 Goals are a roadmap for the next 15 years of international development. All UN member states have signed onto the plan, meaning the world knows how to to tackle child health problems. To truly succeed, countries like the United States have an important role to play in putting the Global Goals into practice and delivering a world free of extreme poverty by 2030. 

Here’s a little bit about what the US government can do now to ensure children around the world have the chance to celebrate their 5th birthday.

One day we might live in a world where children aren’t at risk of dying from pneumonia or diarrhea. But that starts with us.

So - tell the truth - did you correctly guess which disease is the biggest killer of children around the world? Tell us in the comments section, below. 


Defeat Poverty

Quiz: Do you know the biggest killer of children under the age of 5?

By Judith Rowland