Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

GAPPD: ending preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea by 2025

Key messages

1. Working together, we can end preventable deaths of young children around the world from two of the leading child killers, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

  • currently, pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading killers of children under the age of five, together accounting for 29% of all child deaths globally;
  • evidence shows children are dying from these preventable diseases because effective interventions are not provided equitably across all communities.

2. 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: recognizing that prevention and control of pneumonia and diarrhoea cannot be adequately dealt with separately but only through integrated programmes.

  • the plan addresses the critical need for a coordinated and collaborative implementation across communities, clinics, districts, institutions and countries;
  • current interventions - such as exclusive breastfeeding and good nutrition, handwashing, safe drinking water, improved cookstoves, zinc and oral rehydration solution, amoxicillin, vitamin A and vaccination - need correct, consistent and sustained use, as well as equitable availability and access, particularly for those most vulnerable and poorest;
  • with accelerated and coordinated implementation, there will be tremendous gains efficient and effective use of often scarce resources.

3. Without these urgent accelerated and coordinated efforts, each year more than two million of the world’s most vulnerable children will continue to die from these two diseases. We must close this equity gap.

  • children living in poor or remote communities are most at risk, and the burden pneumonia and diarrhoea places on their families and health systems aggravates existing inequalities;
  • despite substantial progress, MDG4 can only be achieved through an intensified, integrated and sustained effort to reduce pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths.

4. Successfully reducing pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths requires engagement by a wide range of actors and sectors, and first and foremost it requires national political will.

  • to scale up action, what is needed is an integrated national package of effective and affordable interventions that are tailored to local contexts and reach those children most at risk;
  • inter-sectoral coordination and cooperation includes leaders and policymakers from national governments, ministries of health, sanitation and water, energy and environment and others, affected communities, international and local partners, public, civil society and private sector actors.

5. These diseases must be addressed if we are to move the needle significantly in achieving the MDG4 as well as successful implementation of the “Every Woman Every Child” movement towards the goals of the UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and “A Promise Renewed” commitment to child survival.