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Preventing Childhood Deaths

According to investigators more than 10 million children worldwide die every year, most of them in poor nations and many of them preventable with existing medical treatments. While the childhood mortality rate in these nations has dropped over the past half century, the rate of decline peaked in 1980. About half of the deaths in children under 5 take place in six countries (India, Nigeria, China, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia) and 90 percent occur in just 42 countries.// Forty percent of all childhood deaths occur in infants under 1 month of age. Children under age 5 most often succumb to diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS and the effects of poor nutrition. Infant deaths most often occur from asphyxia, premature birth, sepsis and tetanus.

Some of the measures that could easily prevent many of these deaths are as follows.Low cost methods as breastfeeding, bednets treated with insecticide, measles vaccinations, and rehydration therapy for those with diarrhea and others would save the lives of a significant number of children in the countries most responsible for the high mortality rates.

The investigators say, "Our findings show that about two-thirds of child deaths could be prevented by interventions that are available today and are feasible for implementation in low income countries at high levels of population coverage There is no need to wait for new vaccines, new drugs, or new technology"

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