News

WHO Says Millions of Children Die from Lack of Medicine

The World Health Organization says millions of children around the world die each year because appropriate medicine is not available.  Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from WHO headquarters in Geneva the U.N. agency is launching a campaign to get pharmaceutical companies to research and develop medicines that are better tailored to children's needs.

The World Health Organization reports each year about 10 million children do not reach their fifth birthday.  It says about 6 million of these children die of treatable conditions, and could be saved if the medicine they need were readily available, safe, effective and affordable.

Every year, the World Health Organization says about 2 million young children die from pneumonia, nearly one million from malaria and HIV kills 330,000 children under 15.

WHO Assistant Director-General, Howard Zucker, says these illnesses are treatable.  But, children do not stand a chance because the medicines are either not appropriate for their age, do not reach them or are priced too high.

"More medicines must be made child size," he said.  "And what we mean by that is that the needs of children in the dosage forms and in the preparation that children can take these medicines and in addition to that needs to be targeted for specific illnesses.  There are many illnesses that are [more] specific to kids than to adults and we need to target those illnesses in children with them as well."

The World Health Organization says children are not small adults, they metabolize medicine differently than adults and need different dosage forms. 

WHO Medicines Policy and Standards Director Dr. Hans Hogerzeil says essential medicine appropriate for children must be developed for five conditions in particular.  They include pneumonia and other acute lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and neglected diseases, such as worms and parasitic diseases.

The WHO campaign targets a range of medicines, including antibiotics, asthma, and pain medication. 

Dr. Hogerzeil says children often do not receive the medicine they need because the price is prohibitive.

"Currently, even some of the combinations for children for AIDS are two to eight times the price of the adult medicine," he added.  "So, if you have a child, it is much more expensive to treat a child than it is to treat an adult, because there has been a lot of competition among the adult medicines, but hardly any competition for the children's medicines.  So, bringing more products to the market will hopefully lead to competition and further price reductions."

The World Health Organization says the gap between the availability and the need for child-appropriate medicine touches wealthy as well as poor countries.  But, the World Health Organization notes most children die from treatable diseases in Africa and India.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs