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‘Global Pulse’ Summarizes Event Launching USAID Child Survival Social Media Campaign

At an event on Monday launching USAID’s “Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday” social media campaign, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah described how $30 worth of materials contained in a backpack he carried onto stage, including zinc to prevent diarrhea and vaccines to prevent pneumococcal diseases, “can lead to a massive reduction in preventable child death in the developing world,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports. Though the backpack and the campaign’s use of 5th birthday photographs from celebrities, lawmakers, and policymakers “made for powerful symbols,” the event “dug a little deeper” to “highligh[t] numerous challenges facing the major U.S. government advocacy effort on child survival, which includes a gathering of world health leaders in Washington in June to push a new plan aimed at reducing preventable child deaths to zero,” the blog says.

Participating in a panel discussion at the event, Michael McCurry, press secretary under former President Bill Clinton and co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said, “This is a hard issue to elevate, particularly in a presidential campaign year. … What does it take for a president engaging and thinking about these issues? Right now, we don’t have that. We don’t have a chance in hell to get it raised in the presidential debates, unless everyone in this room does something about it,” according to “Global Pulse.” Panel member Amanda Glassman, director of Global Health Policy for the Center for Global Development, pointed out there are three large goals or events this summer related to global health and “said that the U.S. government had to stop trying to promote multiple global health issues and settle on one,” according to the blog. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID assistant administrator for Global Health, also a panelist, “wouldn’t say that child survival could be the only issue, but he said: ‘We need to come together with a single voice to make this case,’” the blog states (Donnelly, 4/24). A webcast of the event is available online.