Strategies to help reduce the number of deaths of under-fives feature in the latest stanza of UNICEF’s annual flagship report - The State of the World’s Children 2008: Child Survival.
“Community-level integration of essential services for mothers, newborns and young children, and sustainable improvements in national health systems can save the lives of many of the more than 26,000 children under five who die each day,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Ann Veneman, at the reort's launch in Geneva. “The report describes the impact of simple, affordable life-saving measures, such as exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, insecticide-treated bed nets and vitamin A supplementation, all of which have helped to reduce child deaths in recent years.”
The challenge is to ensure children have access to a continuum of health care, backed by strong national health systems, said WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, at the launch. “Innovative programs in many countries show that an integrated approach where each child is reached with a package of interventions at one time can bring immediate benefits."