In 2000, the UN adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were intended to address key determinants of human health and welfare, including poverty, hunger, and disease. One of the MDGs included the specific aim to reduce child mortality globally . However, now that the original 2015 target date has passed, concerns have been raised that not all of the MDGs, including targets on child health and welfare, have ultimately been met. The WHO reports that, in 2018, still over 6 million children and adolescents died globally, of which over 5 million died before the age of 5. The majority of these deaths are preventable. In children under 5, the leading causes of death include pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal sepsis, and malaria. In adolescents 10–19 years, road injuries, self-harm, HIV, and interpersonal or collective violence are predominant causes of death, and their contributions to mortality differ for girls and boys.
The overwhelming majority of child and adolescent deaths still occur in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South Asia [2,3]. Although considerable progress has been made in the last century to reduce mortality from birth through adolescence, much work remains to be done. PLOS Medicine and the Guest Editors are therefore inviting high quality, impactful research in this important area.