Often, affordable and effective life saving commodities do not reach the mothers and children who need them the most. For this reason, the United Nations (UN) has set up a commission as part of the Every Woman Every Child global movement that will improve access for the world’s most vulnerable people.
With only a short time left for countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities will support the implementation of activities that reduce barriers blocking access to essential health commodities. The commission is advocating at the highest level for changes in the way essential but under-used commodities for women’s and children’s health are produced, distributed and used.
Seven countries have been selected to implement the Commission’s recommendations on how best to improve access and use of 13 identified life saving commodities. As one of the seven pathfinder countries, Uganda is committed to increasing access to life saving medicines and commodities which can greatly impact on maternal, neo-natal and childhood mortality in the country.
Specifically, in child health, the UN commission is focusing on increasing access to and uptake of oral rehydration solutions (ORS) and zinc for diarrhoea and amoxicillin for pneumonia.
“Malaria Consortium is thrilled to see renewed focus and commitment to scaling up access to ORS, zinc and Amoxicillin” says Dr Karin Källander, inSCALE programme coordinator. “Much of our work aims to reach the most vulnerable children suffering from diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria”.
The inSCALE project is working to increase coverage of integrated community case management (ICCM), which provides community based-care for diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria, resulting in more children receiving timely and appropriate care for these three most common childhood illnesses.
ICCM is Ministry of Health policy in Uganda and is seen as a crucial programme for achieving the child mortality related MDGs. Empowering community health workers to deliver life saving treatment is seen as an essential part of ‘last mile’ health care delivery; reaching the children who would otherwise not be receiving the treatment they need.
Diarrhoea and pneumonia account for 27% of all under- five deaths in Uganda, leading to approximately 38,000 deaths a year. The UN commission has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of vulnerable children through supporting the implementation and scale up of interventions such as ICCM that will tackle some of the most common access and uptake bottlenecks.
“The UN commission will allow for the Uganda Ministry of Health to effectively tackle some of the main constraints to access and uptake of essential medicines,” concludes Dr. Källander. “We are moving into a time of strong Government led initiatives that have the potential to greatly impact on the lives of so many in the country. Malaria Consortium welcomes the UN Commission on life saving commodities, its recommendations and the Ugandan Government’s leadership on its implementation.”
For more information on Malaria Consortium and our work in childhood illnesses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org