WHO, UNICEF Launch Global Initiative Aimed At Preventing Childhood Deaths From Pneumonia, Diarrhea

“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a global action initiative Friday to save up to two million children every year from deaths caused by pneumonia and diarrhea by the year of 2025,” Xinhua reports (4/12). “The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea calls for closer integration of efforts to prevent and treat these two diseases and sets ambitious targets to reduce mortality rates and raise levels of children’s access to life-saving interventions,” a joint press release from the WHO and UNICEF states (4/12). “The 10-year action plan, estimated to cost $6 billion, … is ambitious, calling for 90 percent of children under five to have access to antibiotics for pneumonia and life-saving oral rehydration salts for diarrhea, tripling current access rates,” Reuters writes (Nebehay, 4/11).

“Four papers in a Lancet series spell out the situation and the progress that can be made,” The Guardian’s health editor Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog,” noting, “There are 15 interventions that work,” according to the Lancet series (4/11). A press release on DefeatDD.org provides links to a number of related materials, including an advocacy toolkit, a statement of support from the non-governmental organization (NGO) community, and statements from leaders of global and national NGOs, scientists, pediatricians, academics, and policymakers (4/12). A webcast of the U.S. launch of the initiative will be available from USAID, according to a bulletin from the agency (4/12).

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