This blog from our partners at RESULTS Canada originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen blog calling for action to reduce child deaths during the 1000 day countdown to the Millennium Develop Goals.
As of today we have 1000 days until the end of 2015, the deadline for achieving all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As the discussion around the post-2015 development framework revs up, it is important to pause and think about what has been effective and what can be done to advance the MDGs.
While the international community has made great progress towards the MDGs, the fourth MDG target of reducing child deaths by two-thirds is still out of reach.
Pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading killers of children under age five. Nearly as many children under five died from pneumonia and diarrhoea in 2010 as from all other causes – that is, nearly as many as AIDS, malaria, measles, meningitis, injuries and all other post-neonatal conditions combined. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are closely associated with factors such as unsanitary environment, undernutrition and lack of access to clean water. As such, many interventions for pneumonia and diarrhoea (ex: micronutrient supplements, vaccination, hand washing, etc.) are identical.
MDG4 can only be achieved by coordinated and sustained efforts to reduce pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths. The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, goes to the heart of the challenge: recognizing that prevention and control of pneumonia and diarrhoea cannot be adequately dealt with separately but only through integrated programs. Addressing these two diseases through this shared initiative will help countries and global organizations contribute significantly to other efforts aimed at improving child health.
The 1000 day milestone should serve as a rallying point to reinvigorate the discussion surrounding the MDGs. This weekend, the leaders of all the United Nations agencies, under the leadership of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will meet to discuss how they can work as a multilateral system to accelerate progress in the last 1000 days. Supporting the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea is the first step in achieving the Millennium Development Goal to save the lives of children under the age of five.