Monday, April 15, 2013

WaterAid Urges Support for New Plan To Save A Million Children Annually

Source: WaterAid

UNICEF and the WHO have launched a new action plan tackling for the first time two of the three biggest killer diseases of children under five in Africa – pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The plan aims to end preventable deaths of children in Africa from these diseases by 2025, which would save over 1 million lives a year.

According to the United Nations universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa alongside availability of vaccines and treatments, is critical in ending preventable child deaths.

 Nelson Gomonda, WaterAid’s Pan-Africa Programme Manager, during the ceremony said “This Action Plan is all about doing more of what we already know works:  Increasing access to drinking water and adequate sanitation, promoting breast feeding, improving availability of vaccines and making sure that treatment is on hand when children need them.

“It is the responsibility of African Governments to embrace and implement the plan and the cost of inaction and failure will be high and measured in the lives of the continent’s children.  With the support and assistance of organizations like WaterAid and donors, we can succeed in ending these preventable deaths.”

Every year in Sub-Saharan Africa over 600,000 children under five die of pneumonia while more than 400,000 die of diarrhea.  Between them, they account for over a quarter (28%) of all the child deaths on the continent.

The Action Plan calls for a substantial shift is in how poverty reduction efforts are coordinated in Africa.  Aid programmes need to bring together different areas of work, such as access to drinking water, health and education, to make them more effective.

The new plan calls on governments to prioritize investment in the poorest and least-served population groups.  For example, in Africa’s towns and cities, nearly three-quarters (73%) of the richest people enjoy access to adequate sanitation, while for the poorest groups in these areas only 15% have access.

Alongside dozens of development charities, WaterAid has signed a joint statement in support of the new Action Plan that declares:

‘We can save countless lives by using an integrated approach to fighting disease, improving access to proven interventions and by prioritizing efforts to reach the poorest and most marginalized children. As the latest data demonstrate, the Global Action Plan on Pneumonia and Diarrhoea provides the most cost-effective approach and will help achieve the greatest impact in reducing child deaths.’

The statement offers recommendations for developing country governments, businesses and donors.

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