News / Health

Tools Available to Raise Healthy Children, say Advocates

Irish musician Bono speaks during the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 28, 2011
Irish musician Bono speaks during the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 28, 2011
Lisa Schlein

Child health advocates attending the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland say more can and must be done to save the lives of millions of children in developing countries that die from preventable diseases each year.   The advocates participated in a special panel at the Forum on Raising Healthy Children.  

Children in developing countries are exposed to many health risks.  The World Food Program reports nearly 50 million children a year face malnutrition and hunger.  It says 200 million children are stunted, which robs them of the chance to lead a normal life.  

WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran says children under two who are deprived of adequate nutrition never recover from that loss.  She says without specific interventions, children lose a chance at a healthy life.  

"And this is not only an issue of compassion, but also one for finance ministers and presidents and prime ministers," said Sheeran. "The loss to GDP has been estimated by my program-but by others at 6 to 11 percent of GDP that a country loses if children are unhealthy and bring that into adulthood.  And, we know from one economy alone that equals over $20 billion a year.”  

Sheeran says countries now have to tackle the double problem of undernourishment and obesity, which can lead to early onset of diabetes in children.  But, she adds the news is not all grim.  Progress is being made and more can be made.

The Head of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, agrees and is upbeat about the advances in child health.  She says under-five mortality has gone down to 8.1 million, the lowest in 60 years.

She says vaccines against preventable diseases, such as measles and polio are saving millions of lives.   And, she notes new vaccines are coming onto the market to protect children against diarrhea and pneumonia.

Dr. Chan says insecticide treated bed nets have cut child deaths from malaria by half in Africa.

Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, says one of the best ways of bringing down child deaths is by investing in women.

“We know that mothers make an incredible difference in the lives of their newborn babies and in their children," she said. "We know that woman, if you invest and gets an extra dollar or two in income, she plows it right back into her family in terms of health and nutrition and education.  So, the women are key in this.”  

Lead singer of U2 and Co-Founder of ONE Campaign and RED Campaign, Bono, says money can accomplish a lot, if used in the right way.  Since 2004, he says 6,000 children’s lives are being saved every day.  This is being done with the use of government aid and public participation.  

“I think you have to show the results to keep the public involved, but the public does have to keep the feet to the flames of their officials," said Bono.

The panel discussion ended with the surprise visit of Bill Gates and British Prime Minister, David Cameron.  Both men listed polio eradication as one of their top priorities.  

To show their seriousness, Gates said his foundation would contribute $100 million to the global polio eradication campaign.  The British prime minister said his government would double its commitment with a $60-million donation.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs