Prioritising low-cost, simple health measures can cut early deaths

Washington: Scaling up simple, low-cost health measures involving basic maternal and newborn care can save the lives of almost a third of the children under age five who die each year, suggests a leading aid agency World Vision.

The experts suggest that rebalancing health spending to ensure low-cost, simple interventions such as safe water and hygiene, must be a priority to make rapid progress against the top child killers pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.

Citing interventions that can cost lots of money, the study showed that more strategic use of funding and resources would keep millions of children from dying before they reach their fifth birthdays.

"Our world is in the grip of a chronic humanitarian crisis with more than 24,000 children dying each day," said World Vision International`s President Kevin Jenkins.

"Yet we know that even in the poorest countries, most child deaths are not inevitable.

"The truth is politics, not poverty, is what is killing these children. For many politicians, saving infants and children from illness and death is simply not a priority. Our campaign will mobilize and equip people worldwide to hold their leaders to account for ensuring child health now.

"At least 2.5 million children`s lives could be saved each year by implementing low-cost, simple interventions such as water and hygiene, bed nets, and basic maternal and newborn care.

"As many as six million children could be saved yearly by combining these approaches with more strategic allocation of resources to meet needs at the community level, and by fulfilled global donor commitments," Jekins added.

World Vision has launched Child Health Now campaign that aims to help reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015 through ensuring government leaders deliver on their commitments to help meet this goal.

"Prevention is better, and cheaper, than treating children once they get ill," said Report author Regina Keith, World Vision`s senior health campaign adviser.

"Yet an estimated 270 million children live in what amounts to a health care desert, lacking access to even the most basic provision, while millions more face patchy, low-quality systems they can`t afford.

"If countries want to ensure the survival of their next generation, they must focus on providing low-cost, simple interventions to keep these young children healthy," Keith added. (ANI)