Academics at Boston University’s Center for Global Health and Development have published a press release saying that together, both childhood diarrhea and childhood pneumonia caused the death of more than two million children around the world in 2011. That shocking statistic has motivated Boston University to become part of a consortium that aims to make both of these illnesses things of the past by 2035, and lessen their overall impacts by 2025.
A Detailed Set of Papers
If these goals seem lofty, at least they’re not without scientifically-based plans of action. Information about the consortium was published in The Lancet, and the work is being led by Aga Khan University in Pakistan. Objectives were developed with help from three academic papers. The first dives into the global threat posed by these two diseases, and offers estimated mortality rates. The second paper builds on the theme by offering solutions that are effective and budget-friendly and assert to being able to prevent most diarrhea deaths and up to two thirds of those related to cases of pneumonia by 2025. The final academic paper talks about financial concerns, specifically how much it will cost to scale up efforts.
How Much Will It Cost?
Experts say the plan to cut deaths by the figures listed above will cost about 6.7 billion over the next 12 years, and if things go smoothly and stay on budget, the work could continue through 2035, at which point both diseases would ideally no longer be problematic for the world’s children. If the cost sounds like a lot, put things in perspective by realizing that the total bill for a successful outcome would only be about a quarter of the overall cost of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Other Organizations Join In
Around the same time that news broke of the consortium, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF announced a partnership that aligns with the consortium’s objectives. At UNICEF, Dr. Mickey Chopra mentioned how children from lower income families are at greater risk for contracting pneumonia and childhood diarrhea because they have less access to therapeutic interventions.
Which Preventative Measures Could Help?
Since there are numerous factors that combine to determine a person’s risk of being affected by childhood pneumonia or diarrhea, there’s unfortunately no single intervention that can wipe out both conditions. However, experts clarify that it’s important to focus on both preventative measures and prompt treatment. Having access to clean water and living in a sanitary environment is helpful for avoiding both ailments, as is a healthy diet. Vaccines are being introduced as preventative measures as well, but are not yet widely used in some of the most affected areas.
After people become ill, it’s crucial for them to receive prompt and efficiently delivered treatment to avoid complications. Although this necessity might seem obvious, it likely won’t be very easy to institute, especially where access to qualified healthcare providers and appropriate medications is limited at best. Hopefully, the efforts of the consortium will reduce these challenges as detailed plans are carried out.
Clearly, there’s not a universal approach that could be used to combat the problem of childhood pneumonia and diarrhea, but the desires of the consortium seem worthy of making a positive difference worldwide.
Many of the articles Tracy Rentz writes pertain to children’s health issues. With the storage in trained health care workers a career in the health field is a wise choice. The University of Southern California is one of several schools that offer degrees in the health field.