Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Ending preventable deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea by 2025

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10 April 2013 | Geneva -- Pneumonia and diarrhoea together account for 29% of all child deaths globally, resulting in the deaths of more than two million children each year. Children living in poor or remote communities are most at risk and evidence shows children are dying from these preventable diseases because effective interventions are not provided equitably across all communities. Countries most affected can end this staggering and unnecessary death toll.

The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), by WHO/UNICEF, goes to the heart of the challenge by recognizing that the only way to combat these two preventable diseases is to not address them separately, but fight them together in an integrated approach.

We already know interventions that work, such as: exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months; vaccines; handwashing; drinking water; and appropriate treatments to name a few. To reduce preventable deaths, children most affected must have access to these interventions. The GAPPD integrated approach will reduce the numbers of children under five years of age falling ill and dying by bringing more efficient and effective use of often scarce health resources. The goal is to see a drop in deaths from pneumonia to fewer than 3 children in 1000 live births, and from diarrhoea to less than 1 in 1000 by 2025.

This goal can only be achieved by engaging a wide range of actors, sectors and by attaining national political will. National governments are urged to take the lead and implement the GAPPD approach to move significantly in achieving the Millennium Development Goal to save children under the age of five (MDG4) as well as successfully implementing the UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and Every Woman Every Child, and A Promise Renewed commitment to child survival.