A health worker and young girl in a health clinic.


Improving children's health is a critical part of our work. More than 15,000 children under five are still dying every day— many from illnesses that would be so easy to prevent: pneumonia, malaria – even diarrhea. We’re working to nourish children and mothers, educate communities, and help protect the most vulnerable from everyday illness.


$74 million

focused on Health

122 projects

people reached


deaths were averted through the ENRICH program


In Ethiopia, women holding leadership positions on health committees increased from

15% to 56%Amhara region|2016-2021

8500000deworming medication was shipped


1890000ready-to-use therapeutic food packets were distributed


257196patient consultations were provided by health professionals

Connected Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 02 logo: Zero hungerSustainable Development Goal 03 logo: Good health and well-beingSustainable Development Goal 05 logo: Gender Equality

Explore our investments and results

Explore our investments and results options

Real impact measured

The ENRICH program focused on reducing maternal and child mortality in regions of Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar and Tanzania. When the program ended in 2021, an independent analysis compared the program's outcomes against a "control" scenario and revealed a positive impact worth celebrating. Our efforts had prevented over a thousand deaths, along with several thousand cases of stunting and anemia — results directly attributed to the work led by World Vision.

That means, with the cooperation of families, communities, staff, partners and supporters:

  • 311 more babies made it past their first month of life
  • 538 more girls and boys lived to celebrate their fifth birthday
  • 175 more mothers survived to raise their children

For every Canadian dollar invested by stakeholders through ENRICH, five dollars were generated back to society in health benefits. And because the program focused on long-term, sustainable change, the benefits should continue far beyond 2021, with strengthened health systems and families equipped with new knowledge and habits. In fact—using moderate assumptions, we expect ENRICH's efforts to prevent another 3,192 deaths over the next 15 years.


A close-up photo of an infant being fed drinking water from a yellow measuring cup.

Global Challenges

In the last 30 years, the number of child and maternal deaths worldwide has gone down—yet even with this progress, 5.2 million girls and boys died before their fifth birthday in 2019. Every year, one million newborns die the same day that they’re born, while 2.6 million don’t live beyond their first month of life.
Nutrition: Foundational for children's development

Poor nutrition is a frequent culprit in this crisis, hurting women and children at every stage of their development. Malnutrition contributes to an estimated 45% of child deaths worldwide—in 2019, that was 2.3 million girls and boys under age five. For children who survive, the long-term effects are significant: by age three, 80% of a child’s brain is formed—during this critical period, good health, nutrition and nurturing care are all foundational for children’s development, future learning and abilities to achieve their potential.

So it’s sobering that an estimated 149 million young children in lower- and middle-income countries are still chronically malnourished—known as “stunted”—a condition that restricts both physical growth and brain development, especially in the first 1,000 days of life. A staggering 45 million young children also suffer from wasting malnutrition with low weight for their height; this failure to gain weight often results from insufficient quantity and quality of food or infections that cause weight loss, and those with the most severe cases of wasting are nine times more likely to die. With the combined economic and health system impacts of COVID-19, an additional 6.7 million children are now estimated to suffer from wasting malnutrition, with South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa bearing the bulk of the burden.

Stunting and wasting are not the only threats to girls and boys’ good nutrition. Even before the pandemic, two out of five children suffered from anemia in lower- and middle-income countries, making them vulnerable to infections and inhibiting their ability to learn. Iron deficiency anemia affects almost a third of girls and women of reproductive age, a condition that saps the energy they need to live full and productive lives and hinders their capacity for learning. A recent review of data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) from 29 countries across five regions suggests that during pregnancy, severe anemia doubles the risk of women dying during and after childbirth.

Disproportionate health challenges for women and adolescent girls

Every day, more than 800 women die from severe bleeding, infections and high blood pressure related to pregnancy and childbirth, with higher risks of complications among adolescent mothers than other women. A startling 94% of preventable maternal deaths happen in developing countries (sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for approximately 86% of global maternity deaths in 2017), where more than 200 million women and girls of reproductive age would like to delay or prevent pregnancy, but can’t access contraception because of limited availability or social and cultural barriers. This unmet need is expected to rise in light of pandemic-related lockdowns that led to increases in early and forced marriage, while 44% of lower- and middle-income countries surveyed reported pandemic-related disruptions to family planning and contraception services in 2021.

It’s important to note that mental health challenges currently contribute to 14% of the global burden of disease worldwide—and 81% of this burden is hitting families in low- and middle-income countries where access to mental health and psychosocial support services are limited or non-existent. COVID-19 has led to an alarming rise in anxiety and major depression worldwide–53 million and 76 million additional cases respectively—with twice as many women and girls affected than their male counterparts.

Health and nutrition in fragile contexts

In fragile contexts and countries experiencing conflict, the health and nutrition situation exacerbated by the pandemic is worse. These settings account for:

  • More than 70% of cases of epidemic-prone diseases, such as cholera, measles and meningitis;
  • 60% of preventable maternal deaths;
  • 53% of deaths in children under five; and
  • 45% of infant deaths.

By 2030, 80% of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile contexts, and the majority will be children. Women, children and youth are uniquely and disproportionately affected by conflict and fragility, whether by gender-based violence, lack of adequate nutrition, broken state-societal relations or insurmountable barriers to basic quality health services.

In addition to the urgent action needed to save lives and address immediate nutritional, physical and mental health needs—now more than ever, the world’s health systems must be strengthened to reach communities in ways that are effective and durable, while addressing the factors that drive fragility itself.

Please see our Annual Results Report for a full list of references

Two young girls smile at each other as they stand in a grass field with a bicycle.

Approach and Strategy

Our Goal

Children, adolescent girls and women of reproductive age live full and healthy lives

Engage families with essential knowledge and skills
Empower communities to take ownership of their collective health and address existing gender barriers
Partner with health systems to strengthen and support
Influence governments for policies that protect the most vulnerable, particularly women and girls

World Vision’s health and nutrition work is particularly focused on young children, infants, and women and girls of reproductive age. We build on scientific, evidence-based program approaches, leveraging our strong community presence to foster positive changes in health, nutrition and hygiene behaviour; our responsiveness to save lives during humanitarian emergencies and in fragile contexts; and our strategic partnerships to reach more children.

Within communities, we:

  • Equip health workers and volunteers to 1) reach families in their homes with health and nutrition education, and 2) teach caregivers the skills to rehabilitate their children from malnutrition while supporting their long-term health.
  • Work with schools and youth groups to ensure adolescents—especially girls—are learning about nutrition and health, including their own sexual and reproductive health and rights, so they can make informed choices for the future.
  • Promote women and adolescent girls’ active involvement in community matters that affect their health and wellbeing.
  • Empower communities to improve the availability, quality and accountability of their health care services through strong relationships between community groups, health workers and facilities, and constructive advocacy to (and alongside) service providers.

Within health systems, we:

  • Collaborate with district, provincial and regional health management teams, running joint campaigns and outreaches, supporting the health workforce with training and building administrative capacities in planning, budgeting and management of health data systems.
  • Equip and refurbish health facilities—especially in fragile contexts—so they can provide effective health and nutrition care.
  • Lead and participate in strategic alliances with our peers in the humanitarian and development sectors, advancing health and nutrition movements that influence national policies and accountability

How we’ve adapted in the face of COVID-19

  • Mobile devices and technology have allowed health providers to access COVID-19 information and technical resources.
  • Health workers have received training and protective equipment, and community education campaigns have dispelled myths and misinformation about COVID-19 while promoting prevention and response methods.
  • To lay the groundwork for COVID-19 vaccine readiness in rural communities, World Vision contributed to behavioural science research, identifying key factors for vaccine acceptance. These findings will help formulate messages to encourage vaccine uptake when they become more available in the countries where we work.
A white jeep driving through a muddy path, featuring a rainbow and trees in the background.

Investments and Results

In 2021, $74 million was invested in 122 projects that focused primarily on health approaches, reaching 3,172,291 girls, 3,047,477 boys, 2,357,639 women and 2,239,974 men. Of these investments, 67% went toward work in the most fragile and very low developing countries, with an emphasis on development programs (71%).

In the health sector, World Vision places particular emphasis on nutrition interventions in our work with children and families across countries in all levels of fragility. In 2021, we continued to lead the coalition of Canadian development partners on the Gender Transformative Framework for Nutrition—a new evidence-informed, holistic approach to understanding the relationship between gender and nutrition—so that we can address the rising nutritional challenges that disproportionately affect women and girls and are being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We also applied our expertise as thought leaders in the global community of health and nutrition practice, where we are well-positioned to rally with faith-based actors to overcome misinformation and harmful attitudes that create barriers for children, adolescents and women to access life-saving health services—such as immunizations.

A wide-shot image of two people wearing backpacks, looking up at a massive green mountain area.



Efforts put in by families and communities over the past several years have contributed to measurable positive change. Here are some health examples we gathered in 2021.


An Ethiopian mother holds her baby.

Nutrition for Growth Summit results in $27 billion committed to fight malnutrition

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A newborn baby has their vitals checked.

In 2018, an estimated four million of the world’s children passed away within the first year of life after birth. Most of these deaths were preventable.

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A young boy has his arm circumference measured.

Malnutrition: How it hurts people, societies and the world

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Unless otherwise stated, data presented on this page reflects results of World Vision Canada programs reported between October 2020 and September 2021.