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Infectious Diseases Caused Two-Thirds of the Nearly 9 Million Child Deaths Globally In 2008

Posted May 13 2010 2:59pm

Preventable infectious diseases cause two-thirds of child deaths, according to a new study published today by The Lancet. Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF’s Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) assessed data from 193 countries to produce estimates by country, region and the world. While the number of deaths has declined globally over the last decade, the analysis reveals how millions of children under five die every year from preventable causes.

“With less than five years to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4—to reduce child deaths by two-thirds from 1990 levels—it is vital for governments, public health organizations, and donors to have accurate country-level estimates so they can target their efforts effectively,” said lead author Dr. Robert Black, the Edgar Berman Professor and Chair of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“These findings have important implications for national programs,” said UNICEF Chief of Health, Dr. Mickey Chopra. “The persistence of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, all of which are easily preventable and curable but which nonetheless remain the leading single causes of death worldwide, should spur us to do more to control these diseases.”

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