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In sub-Saharan Africa, a number of adverse conditions have placed children at high risk, including persistent and worsening poverty, an alarming pace of economic change, rapid population growth, increasing urbanisation and growing numbers of orphaned refugees and displaced women and children.
Global Child Health
The AIDF infographic illustrates that significant progress has been made towards achieving the 4th Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing child mortality. The number of deaths of children under five has reduced from 12.7 million in 1990 to 6 million in 2015. The leading cause of under-five deaths was neonatal death, which the World Health Organization (WHO) defines as the death of a baby within the first 28 days of life. Other leading causes included acute lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases.
Nutrition has a profound effect on child health. Under-nutrition is associated with more than one third of the global disease burden for children under five. In sub-Saharan Africa 1 in 4 children are underweight and a third of all stunted growth children live in the region.
16,000 children die every day from preventable or treatable causes. Vaccine-preventable diseases are responsible for 20% of 8.8 million deaths among children under five.
The gaps in available global healthcare persist and need to be addressed. Globally, 400 million people do not have access to essential health services. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to fall behind global standards in regards to health services. The WHO recommends 23 doctors per 10,000 population; however, in Kenya there is only one doctor per 10,000 people and in other countries in the region such as Ethiopia and Tanzania figures are even less.
Immunisation averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles; however, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves.
In Ethiopia, the Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) immunisation coverage is an impressive 96%; however, other countries in the region have not reached such figures. For example, Somalia has recorded only 44% DTP3 coverage.
The 2nd annual Aid & Development Africa Summit, on 28 February-1 March in Nairobi, Kenya, will look into improving maternal and child health as well as strengthening community health resilience. During the two-day summit, international and regional experts will gather to discuss the latest technological innovations, initiatives and best practices providing an opportunity for knowledge exchange and networking amongst public, private and civil society stakeholders. For more information about the event and to register, please visit africa.aidforum.org