Lancet Infectious Diseases Examines How Resource Gaps Are Creating Barriers To Reduce Child Mortality

The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ Newsdesk examines how resource gaps in immunizations, health workers and financing are creating barriers to efforts to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015, as highlighted in a recent Save the Children report. The article describes the role GAVI Alliance has played in increasing the number of children receiving vaccines worldwide and notes the $3.7 billion gap the group hopes to fill to expand its immunization campaign over the next four years.

“Receipt of the money would allow for an additional 230 million children to be immunised with pentavalent vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae b, and hepatitis B, 90 million with the new pneumococcal vaccines, and 53 million with the rotavirus vaccines,” according to the publication. The article describes how GAVI hopes to engage donors and the private sector at a pledging conference scheduled for June.

“[E]ven if GAVI is able to secure the requisite funds, this will not, on its own, be enough to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4,” the article continues. “Between now and 2015, an additional $17.5 billion per year – mostly due from nation states – is needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals on child mortality and maternal health,” Lancet Infectious Diseases continues. Although “[o]nly 19 of the 68 so-called countdown countries, in which the progress towards the goals is monitored, are on track to attaining Millennium Development Goal 4 … if governments are willing to make investments, the results can be substantial,” the publication writes, pointing to recent progress in maternal and child health arenas in Bolivia and Sierra Leone. The piece includes quotes from GAVI Alliance’s Jeffrey Rowland, Pfizer’s Mark Swindell and Save the Children’s Simon Wright (Burki, March 2011).

In related news, the Nairobi Star reports on the toll of pneumonia on children living in Kenya and the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine PCV10 in the country last month. The article notes the role GAVI played in negotiating the vaccine’s cost and debates whether other drug makers could provide the vaccine at a lower cost than GAVI currently  pays. The article includes quotes by Director of Public Health and Sanitation Shanaaz Sharifa, Kenyan pediatrician Eric Wobudeya, and a mother whose child recently died of pneumonia (Kariuki, 2/28).

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