Children’s health issues are a huge topic of discussion and study among the world’s top players in health care. WHO (World Health Organization), The World Bank and UNICEF are just several of the agencies looking to identify vulnerable children, what the main causes of death are and to try to improve outcomes through care and interventions.
Here are a few facts regarding child health worldwide:
- 99% of child death occur in low to middle income countries
- Asia accounts for 42% of deaths
- Africa accounts for 51% of deaths
- Children in Sub Saharan Africa are 15 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than anywhere else
- The remaining numbers are made up of a handful of industrial countries, Caribbean and Latin America.
What are the top causes of childhood death in the United States?
- Neonatal Causes
- Respiratory Infections
The top causes of childhood death worldwide are:
- Neonatal Causes (prematurity, low birth weight, birth defects)
- Diarrheal Diseases
- HIV infection
What are some of the reasons why children succumb to disease, some of which are treatable and preventative?
- There is a direct correlation between poverty and disease. About 1 Billion people worldwide live in absolute poverty. This means their basic needs of food, water, shelter and adequate access to healthcare are not met. Some live in relative poverty, meaning there is a wealth gap between the rich and the poor in a particular country.
- Lack of a national health care system
- Many live in difficult to reach, rural populations
- Countries lack the funding and manpower to provide the care needed to vulnerable populations
- Lack of an effective means of transportation to get children the care they need
- Lack of parental education about disease causes and prevention
- Poor hygiene and sanitation
- Lack of access to clean water and healthy food
What can be done to improve these unfortunate numbers?
The world agencies are looking at ways to bring needed treatments to poor and affected areas.
- Establishing vaccine programs to lower the incidence of malaria and pneumonia
- To provide needed antibiotics, oxygen, rehydration therapies such as IV fluids and other treatments to combat disease
- To work towards establishing clean water systems and adequate supplies of nutrition
- Parental education on disease prevention
This is a worldwide problem and we all must do a better job decreasing child mortality rates. Federal, International and humanitarian agencies are doing their best to accommodate the needs of the people and improve survival odds. It is the hope that in the coming years, we will experience a decline in childhood illness and death by providing education and access to healthcare for everyone.
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