You are here: Home Archive Article Go for integrated health strategies to save children, says UNICEF
Go for integrated health strategies to save children, says UNICEF

Jan 23, 2008

More than 26,000 children die everyday in the world before they see their fifth birthday. Along with sub-Saharan Africa, India has been identified with high under-five mortality in UNICEF’s new report on the state of the world’s children. It calls for community-level integration of essential services to arrest this disturbing phenomenon.

Geneva: Strategies that can help reduce the number of children who die before their fifth birthday were highlighted at the launch of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) flagship report - The State of the World’s Children 2008: Child Survival – in Geneva on January 22.

While recent data show a fall in the rate of under-five mortality, the report goes beyond the numbers to suggest actions and initiatives that should lead to further progress.

“Community-level integration of essential services for mothers, newborns and young children, and sustainable improvements in national health systems can save the lives of many of the more than 26,000 children under five who die each day,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director.

The report’s analysis also reveals that far more needs to be done to increase access to treatments and means of prevention, so the devastating impact of pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, severe acute malnutrition and HIV can be better addressed.

“Stepping up investment in health systems will be crucial if we are to meet the child health targets set by the United Nations, but progress can be made even when health systems are weak,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Innovative programs in many countries show that an integrated approach where each child is reached with a package of interventions at one time can bring immediate benefits,” said Chan.

“Innovative programs in many countries show that an integrated approach where each child is reached with a package of interventions at one time can bring immediate benefits,” said Chan.

The new information in the report is drawn from household survey data as well as material from key partners, including the WHO and the World Bank.

It provides examples of successful initiatives, such as the Accelerated Child Survival and Development Initiative, which provides integrated primary care to impoverished households in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Measles Initiative; a global campaign that has helped to reduce measles deaths by around 68% worldwide, and by more than 90% in Africa, since 2000.

The approach to child survival that the report advocates would see the best disease-specific initiatives combined with investment in strong national health systems to create a continuum of care for mothers, newborns and young children that extends from the household, to the local clinic, to the district hospital and beyond.

The report emphasises the need to involve local communities. These communities generate necessary demand for quality health care and their engagement is vital if marginalised and remote populations are to be reached.

In 2006, almost half of all under-five deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, even though less than one quarter of the world’s children live there.

“Child survival is not only a human rights imperative, it is also a development imperative,” said Joy Phumaphi, Vice President, Human Development Network at the World Bank.

Indian scenario

 

 

Of the 9.7 million children dying globally before they reach the age of five, India accounts for 2.1 million, though the mortality has declined by 34% between 1990 and 2006.

India still carries a disproportionate amount of the burden as it accounts for 21% of the under-five children dying in the world.

According to the report urgent action was needed to tackle the underlying causes of deaths of children in the country by increasing investment in child survival and development programmes.

The major causes of child mortality are neonatal (37%), pneumonia (19%), diarrhoea (17%), and AIDS (3%). An estimated 70,000 children below 15 years are infected with HIV and 21,000 children are infected each year through mother-to-child transmission.

As far as low birth-weight deaths are concerned, India accounts for 8.3% of the global figure. The child malnutrition in India has reduced by a percentage point between 1998-99 and 2005-06 to 46%. As many as 35% of the world’ undernourished children live in India.

As far as low birth-weight deaths are concerned, India accounts for 8.3% of the global figure. The child malnutrition in India has reduced by a percentage point between 1998-99 and 2005-06 to 46%. As many as 35% of the world’ undernourished children live in India.

The key preventive measures suggested in the report are early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, appropriate complementary feeding from six months up to 2 years, skilled care at birth and special care for low-birth weight babies.

The UNICEF country representative in India, Gianni Murzi, said child mortality could be reduced through easy interventions and sustained strengthening of health systems with increased community participation.

“The world will not achieve the millennium development goals without India achieving these,” he added.

 

Source: UNICEF and The Hindu
Most Read
Most Shared
You May Like
search

blank.gif

blank.gif

blank.gif

Jobs at OneWorld

research-coordinator.png

rolling-internships.png

blank.gif

blank.gif

blank.gif

blank.gif

telangana-sdg.jpg

blank.gif

amity-3rd-mission-2030-2.png

Global Goals 2030
 
OneWorld South Asia Group of Websites