Published: 03-10-2022 15:16 | Updated: 03-10-2022 15:22

Nobel Calling Seminar: Why do 5 million children still die before their fifth birthday?

Tobias Alfvén next to roll up with the text Nobel Calling Stockholm
Tobias Alfvén during the Nobel Calling Stockholm event. Photo: Miriam Mosesson

The research team Global Child Health and the Sustainable Development Goals in collaboration with the Nobel Prize Museum hosted a seminar on global child health as part of the Nobal Calling Stockholm week. Juliet Mwanga-Amumpaire from Mbarara University in Uganda and Tobias Alfvén, associate professor at the Department of Global Public Health, discussed why five million children die every year and what is needed for more children to survive.

Juliet Mwanga-Amumpaire
Juliet Mwanga-Amumpaire, Senior Lecturer at Mbarara University in Uganda.

Every year in October, the recipients of the Nobel Prizes are announced. In connection with this, the Nobel Prize Museum organizes inspirational events and instructive meetings in collaboration with, among others, Karolinska Institutet. This year the research team Global Child Health and Sustainable Development Goals at the Department of Global Public Health hosted a seminar titled Why do 5 million children still die before their fifth birthday?  

Tobias Alfvén, associate professor in global health started the presentation with an overview of the global under five mortality rates from the past 200 years. Huge progress has been made to reduce the under five mortality and in the past couple of decades the rate has decreased by 50%. Eventough most deaths among children under the age of five are preventable with the knowledge that we have today, there are large disparities in the world and the child mortality rate is still high in low income countries.

After the overview, Juliet Mwanga-Amumpaire from Mbarara University who joined via zoom from Uganda presented the child health situation in Uganda. She exaplined that 75% of disease burden for children in Uganda is preventable and that the top child mortality causes are neonatal conditions, malaria, respiratory tract infections, diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition. Approximately 33 million cases of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia go untreated every year in Uganda representing a critical treatment gap

Tobias Alfvén presents the global under five mortality over the past two centuries.
Tobias Alfvén presents the global under five mortality over the past two centuries. Photo: Miriam Mosesson

The seminar ended with Tobias Alfvén presenting some of the future challenges to global child health such as climate change, poverty and instable govermental institutions. But also opportunities such as the Sustainable Development Goals including goal 3.2 (to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age), an agrement all world leaders have signed.

Around 50 people attended the Nobel Calling Seminar online and in person. During the seminar all participants were asked to join a quiz. The three top winners were students from the Global Health master programme and won a Nobel Calling Stockholm t-shirt and free entry to the Nobel Prize Museum. 

Thank you to all who participated and hope to see you again next year!

The seminar was held October 3, 2022 at the Widerströmska building and online via Zoom.