Will child survival keep going up?

Ten smiling children pose in front of a brown wall.

Will childhood survival continue to improve? It depends on who you ask. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

As the UN General Assembly wound up late last week, global health thinkers pondered the extent of our success in reaching UN Millennium Development Goals that call for increased survival of children. Some, such Dr. Michael H. Merson, founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute, see the numbers of childhood deaths as potentially stalling after a sharp decline. Others, such as New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, think childhood survival numbers will continue to improve. Both, however, insist more needs to be done.

Opinion: “The moment of truth” for child survival

GlobalPost, September 30, 2013

Preventing childhood diarrhea and pneumonia deaths and vaccinating children in the first six months of life was the essence of the child survival revolution of the 1980s. But sadly, the revolution came to an end as much of the global health community shifted most of its attention and resources to HIV/AIDS. . .This is the moment of truth. The level of commitment that the world made to eradicating smallpox and improving access to antiretroviral drugs, especially in low-income countries, now needs to be applied to child survival.

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A way of life is ending. Thank goodness.

The New York Times, September 28, 2013

Here’s something even more important than Congressional name-calling or the debt limit: new approaches are saving millions of children’s lives each year. In 1990, more than 12 million children died before the age of 5. Now that figure is down close to 6 million. Bill Gates, whose foundation with his wife, Melinda, pioneers the vaccines and medicines saving these lives, tells me that in his lifetime the number will drop below 1 million.

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GAVI Alliance to address next vaccine challenge: supply chains

Devex, September 26, 2013

Currently, millions of children go unimmunized each year because of delivery problems, including anything from vaccine supply chain breaks and ineffective cold chain equipment to poor vaccine stock management in developing countries. Shockingly, these kinds of issues account for a substantial number of the children who miss out on their shots.

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Global cancer fund needed to fight surging cases in poor nations

Bloomberg Businessweek, September 30, 2013

A global fund is needed to curb ballooning cancer rates in poor nations, where malignancies already kill more people than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, according to a report by a coalition of researchers.

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Posted in Maternal and child health, Noncommunicable disease, Vaccines and immunization | Permalink

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