World health report

Executive summary

Child health

In order to help monitor and prevent protein-energy malnutrition, WHO published an expert committee report, Physical status: the use and interpretation of anthropometry. This and the Organization's global data base on child growth and malnutrition (now also accessible on the Internet) have become standard reference works for those active in this field. Trace elements in human nutrition and health, also published in 1996, describes the global status and assessment of deficiency and excess of 19 trace elements.

To combat iodine deficiency, WHO, in collaboration with other interested agencies and organizations, has promoted salt iodization, for which programmes now exist in 110 countries.

The WHO/UNICEF Integrated management of childhood illness strategy provides a systematic process for diagnosing and treating diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition (including breast-feeding problems), measles and malaria, which together are responsible for approximately 70% of all child deaths. In 1996, six African countries were already implementing the programme.

As a result of WHO's activities, 500 million immunization contacts with children were made during the year. One of the Organization's goals is to enable the provision of sufficient quantities of high-quality affordable vaccines to be sustained; to this end, a network was established in 1996 to train staff of national control authorities.