On the 12 April to mark World Health Workers week, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF launched the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea. This marks the first-ever simultaneous effort to protect children from pneumonia and diarrhoea, which take the lives of almost two million children a year.
The Global Action Plan will provide the strategies and evidence needed to significantly reduce childhood death and illness from two of the leading killers of children, pneumonia and diarrhoea, that together account for nearly one-third of deaths in children under age five. The Global Action Plan calls on national governments and their partners to integrate their approach to fighting these diseases, for which the interventions to protect against, prevent and treat are complementary.
Malaria Consortium, a signatory of the Global Action Plan, fully supports this initiative and its integrated approach supports our current work on integrating the control of pneumonia and diarrhoea with malaria control.
Malaria Consortium Chief Executive, Charles Nelson, says: “The launch of the Global Action Plan represents a wonderful opportunity for us to reduce childhood death and illness from two of the leading killers of children, pneumonia and diarrhoea and we are delighted to show our support.
“While excellent progress has been made and child deaths have significantly decreased, too many children are still dying from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Tackling these two leading killers of children together with malaria will have the single greatest impact on improving child survival.
“We are increasingly moving towards integrated approaches to disease control and members of civil society and national governments must continue to work together to prioritise integrated approaches to improving child health and set goals for expanding access to health care.”
Malaria Consortium has been working on malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea for a number of years through integrated community case management (ICCM) programmes which have provided community-based care for these diseases. This includes supporting the identification and training of community health workers to diagnose and treat these three diseases appropriately which has led to a reduction of childhood deaths.
Malaria Consortium’s inSCALE project has furthered this work to demonstrate that coverage and impact of government-led ICCM programmes can be extended if innovative solutions can be found for critical limitations, such as motivation and retention of community health worker.
Through a Department for International Development/UK Aid funded research project (COMDIS-HSD), Malaria Consortium is also conducting a study to explore the use of antibiotics for pneumonia by caregivers and community health workers, to strengthen and inform further implementation of ICCM.
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