News / Health

New UN Strategy Could Save Two Million Children A Year

Filipino mothers carry their babies outside a health center in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines.
Filipino mothers carry their babies outside a health center in Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines.
Lisa Schlein
The World Health Organization and U.N. Children's Fund are unveiling a new strategy to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025.  The agencies say this new plan of action potentially could save the lives of up to two million young children each year.

Pneumonia and diarrhea are two leading killers of young children.  Together, they account for nearly one-third of all the deaths of children under five years old in developing countries.  Nearly 90 percent of the two million annual child deaths from these two diseases occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
 
Health agencies say children are dying from these preventable diseases because effective interventions are not reaching them or are not being provided equitably across all communities.  
 
Elizabeth Mason, director of the World Health Organization's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, says pneumonia and diarrhea are currently treated separately.  She says evidence from countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Tanzania show it makes good health and economic sense to tackle these diseases together.
 
She says many factors contribute to pneumonia or diarrhea, so no single intervention can effectively prevent, treat or control these two conditions.  She says the new approach involves putting the known interventions into one comprehensive, integrated package.
 
“Current interventions, such as exclusive breast-feeding, good under-five good nutrition for children, hand washing, safe drinking water, improved cook stoves, environmental pollution, zinc, oral rehydration solution, antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, vitamin A, and vaccination need correct and consistent and sustained use,” said Mason. 
 
Vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea are not affordable in many developing countries.  The GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership, provides funding that increases access to immunization in developing countries.
 
To date, GAVI has helped 24 poor countries immunize 13 million children with pneumococcal vaccines to prevent pneumonia and 13 countries with rotavirus vaccines to immunize five million children against diarrhea.  
 
GAVI welcomes the WHO/UNICEF integrated global action plan and says it hopes to accelerate affordable access to these life-saving vaccines by developing countries.
 
WHO’s Mason believes the targets set by the new integrated approach for ending preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025 are achievable.
 
“In this respect, we are saying that pneumonia in children under five, there should be no fewer than three per thousand deaths and for diarrhea fewer than one per thousand deaths, which is totally less than four per thousand deaths from these two diseases," explained Mason. "And, we believe that in a further 10 years, we should be able to have no deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia.”  
 
Dr. Mason says it will cost just over $6 billion to implement the strategy over a 10-year period.  She says that comes to just about $600 million a year.  She notes the return from this relatively small amount of money is huge in terms of millions of children’s lives saved.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid