German development policy

Promoting children's and young people's health

Newly arrived children are vaccinated in the refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya.

With the third development goal of the 2030 Agenda (SDG 3), the international community has set itself the goal of ending preventable child and infant mortality, and working together to tackle diseases that particularly threaten children.

Child survival rates in developing countries have continually improved since 1990. Yet in 2017, there were still roughly 5.4 million under-five deaths due to diseases that are largely avoidable or treatable.

German activities

A seven-month old girl in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo being measured to check her recovery from acute malnutrition.

Strengthening health systems (universal health coverage) is one of the most important ways in which Germany is helping to improve maternal and child health through development cooperation. Health services such as antenatal care, attended births and newborn health programmes are very important here. In addition, Germany is also engaged in efforts to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses, diarrhoea and malaria.

Within the framework of multilateral cooperation the German Development Ministry (BMZ) supports the efforts of international organisations (such as UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, the World Bank) to implement health programmes. In order to improve access to immunisation for children and for teenage girls, Germany supports Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In addition, Germany has been a strong and reliable partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) for many years. Since the initiative was launched, the German government has provided over 550 million US dollars to help eradicate polio.

In 2011, the BMZ launched its Initiative on Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health. It is Germany’s contribution towards the implementation of the G8 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and towards supporting the UN Secretary-General’s global strategy 'Every Woman Every Child'. Originally, the Initiative covered financial commitments of more than 533 million euros for the period from 2011 to 2015. As a contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Germany has pledged to extend its involvement to at least the end of 2019.

Further information can be found here in the section entitled Health – a human right.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Health worker explaining birth control in Juba.

Around the world roughly 1.8 billion people are aged between 10 and 24 years. The majority of them live in developing countries. They are thus a target group for programmes to promote sexual and reproductive health. Especially when it comes to preventing sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and avoiding unwanted pregnancies, it is important that suitable and accessible health programmes are developed for each specific target group. That is why Germany supports special age-appropriate programmes for girls, boys and young adults that help to improve their access to information, health services and contraceptives.

In addition, Germany is also very involved in information campaigns aimed at putting an end to the practice of female genital mutilation. More detailed information can be found here.

BMZ glossary

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