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The Deaths Of Millions Of Children Could Be Prevented Every Year, Says Humanitarian Group - 2004-01-16

The humanitarian organization, Save the Children, is calling for greater US spending to help prevent the deaths of 10 million of children every year. While Africa represents only 10 percent of the world’s population, 40 percent of these deaths of children under five occur in Africa. South Asia also has a growing problem.

The group is lobbying the Bush administration and congress, saying 70 percent of these deaths could be prevented with simple, low-cost methods. David Oot is director of save the children’s office of health. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the problems facing children five years of age and younger.

He says some of the main causes of death are malaria, measles, diarrhea, tetanus and pneumonia. Mr. Oot says, “We would like to see the Bush administration and the US provide greater leadership in addressing this issue. We believe that we are uniquely positioned to do so because we have the technical knowledge and expertise to support programs, but we also have the resources to do so. We have the technical support in part through our presence in many of these countries that are most in need. And that includes the US Agency for International development, USAID.”

As for the spending increase, he says, “We’re looking for, initially anyway, an increase in funding to about one point two billion dollars per year. This would be roughly a doubling of current levels and would represent less than two dollars per American per year of additional funding.”

Mr. Oot says he believes the reason this problem has not received greater attention is that many Americans are not even aware that this problem exists.

Click above links to download or listen to interview with David Oot.