Child Survival and Development Revolution


Baby from MozambiqueIn 1982 UNICEF launched its Child Survival and Development Revolution (CSDR), which focused on four inexpensive interventions to reduce child deaths. The acronym "GOBI" represents the four program components of CSDR: growth monitoring to detect early signs of child malnutrition; oral rehydration to prevent death by dehydration as a consequence of diarrhea; breast-feeding to stop the unhealthy and often deadly effects of infant formula in poor communities; and immunization against six vaccine-preventable diseases (polio, measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria). Subsequently, UNICEF added food security, female education, and family planning to complement GOBI.


Graphic with the causes of deaths in children under five 2000-2003Initially, the WHO expressed caution because it viewed GOBI as vertical interventions, in contrast to the PHC approach, which called for a more horizontal approach that would strengthen health systems. UNICEF was able to reassure WHO officials that GOBI programs were meant to establish entry points for PHC, and the WHO became a partner in GOBI activities. It also joined UNICEF in sponsoring the Bamako Initiative, which aimed at making available essential drugs to African countries as part of PHC, but with cost-recovery and community management as key elements of the initiative.


Baby being weighedThe term "child survival" proved an effective tool to garner considerable extra resources for child health programs. GOBI programs involving broad-scale social mobilization and the participation of many nongovernmental organizations became dominant public health activities in most developing countries in the 1980s. The oral rehydration and immunization programs have saved millions of children's lives annually. Along with GOBI, UNICEF also started a global effort in health education with its "Facts for Life" health messages, in which WHO and UNESCO were also associated.



Stamp catalogue - 1985


Bangladesh                  14 March 1985

Niger                          28 January 1985



Stamp catalogue - 1986


Tunisia                        22 December 1986



Stamp catalogue - 1988


Bangladesh                  19 January 1988









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last revised: 11 February 2008