A new report from UNICEF focuses on the huge potential to narrow the child survival gap between the richest and the poorest by focusing on pneumonia and diarrhoea – the two primary killers of children under the age of five.
Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, commented, “We know what works against pneumonia and diarrhoea – the two illnesses that hit the poorest hardest. Scaling up simple interventions could overcome two of the biggest obstacles to increasing child survival, help give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive.”
Pneumonia and diarrhoea account for nearly one-third of the deaths among children under five globally – or more than 2 million lives each year. Nearly 90 per cent of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The prevention and treatments for both diseases often overlap, and include such basic steps as: increasing vaccine coverage; encouraging breastfeeding and hand-washing with soap; expanding access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and disseminating oral rehydration salts to children with diarrhoea and antibiotics to children with bacterial pneumonia.
The UNICEF report is being issued shortly before the launch of a major global initiative on child survival in Washington, D.C. on 14-15 June convened by the Governments of the Ethiopia, India and the United States with 700 leaders and global experts from government, the private sector and civil society. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_62592.html