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Opinion Pieces, Blog Posts Address Child Survival Call to Action

The governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, today are scheduled to launch the Child Survival Call to Action in Washington, D.C., a two-day event that brings together world leaders, public health experts, child health advocates and others in an effort to reduce child mortality to 20 per 1,000 by 2035 worldwide, with the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths. The following summarizes several opinion pieces and blog posts addressing the effort.

  • Ben Affleck and Rajiv Shah, Politico: Noting that “the child global mortality rate has declined by 70 percent” over the past 50 years, Affleck, an actor and founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, and Shah, USAID administrator, write, “This progress is extraordinary. Yet there are still places, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, that these advances have yet to reach.” They continue, “This reality is abhorrent. … By focusing on affordable, easy-to-use solutions — like bed nets to prevent the spread of malaria, vaccines, nutritional supplements and rehydration therapies — we can add Congo and other nations to the ever-growing list of countries celebrating this extraordinary global reduction in child mortality” (6/13).
  • Kolleen Bouchane, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: Bouchane, director of ACTION, writes, “There are two areas that I hope receive the attention they require at the conference.” She says “an agenda based on equity — focused on reaching children among the bottom 20 percent of the economic ladder — is necessary to eliminating preventable child deaths,” as is attention to tuberculosis, “which has long been seen as an adult illness but affects an estimated million children each year.” She adds, “It’s going to take national governments, working closely with the private and non-profit sectors over decades, to provide the resources and deliver on the promises made this week” (6/13).
  • Flavia Bustreo, IMPACTblog: “[D]espite accelerated progress, the global burden of maternal and child mortality is still unacceptably high,” Bustreo, assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health at WHO, writes, adding that most maternal and child deaths “would have been preventable with interventions that already exist.” She continues, “Unfortunately, we still fail to reach a large proportion of mothers and children with them, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where most of maternal and child deaths occur. We need to find the ways to ensure that every mother and child has access to these interventions and can benefit from them.” Bustreo concludes, “As we move forward, let’s keep in mind that although survival is essential, our aim is to save a healthy child that grows and develops well” (6/13).
  • Anthony Lake, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: Despite significant decreases in child mortality over the past 50 years, “our efforts still do not reach millions of children,” and “studies show that efforts to reach the hardest to reach are cost-effective, averting more deaths for every extra dollar invested than the path we are now on,” Lake, UNICEF executive director, writes. He outlines several steps that can be taken to help reduce rates, adding, “The pledge leaders are taking in Washington is ambitious. For some countries, it will require accelerating the annual rate of reduction in child mortality. For all countries, it will require greater disaggregation of national averages, to find the children being left behind” (6/13).
  • Ariel Pablos-Mendez and Kent Hill, Washington Post’s “Guest Voices”: “The moment to do more has arrived. It is time to create the next wave of the child survival revolution. With greater political commitment, we can parlay progress into a shared vision to end all preventable child deaths — stopping one of the greatest moral outrages of our time,” Pablos-Mendez, USAID assistant administrator for global health, and Hill, senior vice president for international programs at World Vision, write. They add, “Crucially, we need faith communities in both developed and developing countries to help. They are essential because of their extensive networks, their credibility and leadership within communities, and their capacity to mobilize significant numbers of volunteers. Put simply, religion has a staying power that we need to get the job done” (6/13).
  • Robert Steinglass, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: The Child Survival Call to Action provides the world an opportunity “to direct urgent attention not just to increase but also to re-balance current and future investments so as to overcome the long-standing, identified weaknesses in routine vaccination programs,” Steinglass, immunization team leader at MCHIP and immunization senior adviser at John Snow, Inc., writes. “If we want to eliminate and eradicate disease, smoothly introduce new vaccines across an expanded life cycle, increase vaccination coverage among all target groups to close the equity gap, reduce mortality to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and sustain those gains beyond 2015, the global community must recognize that the fundamental platform — the vaccination program itself — must be better supported and reinforced,” he adds (6/13).

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