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Opinion Pieces Address Child Survival Call to Action

The governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, on Thursday launched the Child Survival Call to Action in Washington, D.C., during a two-day event that brings together world leaders, public health experts, child health advocates and others in an effort to reduce child mortality to 20 per 1,000 by 2035 worldwide, with the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths. The following summarizes several opinion pieces addressing the effort.

  • Seth Berkley, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: “From Ghana to Haiti, U.S. leadership and partnership in global health is helping save the lives of millions of children around the world,” Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, writes, adding, “Vaccines are critical to this effort.” Noting that vaccines are “one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to save lives and ensure healthy families and whole communities” and that they “save money by reducing the costs for repeated medical treatment and long-term disability and the loss of productivity for parents who must miss work to care for sick children,” Berkley concludes, “With the continued leadership of the U.S. and developing countries, the support of the private sector, and others doing their part, a healthier future for all the world’s children can be achieved in our lifetime” (6/14).
  • Kathy Calvin, CNN: Writing that the Child Survival event “will serve as the launch pad for activities to assess progress and sustain momentum toward” the goal of reducing child mortality, Calvin, CEO of the U.N. Foundation, continues, “Working with our partners, the U.N. Foundation delivers lifesaving vaccines and insecticide-treated bed nets to children, harnesses mobile technologies to improve maternal and child health, provides opportunities for women to voluntarily plan their families, empowers girls to build the future they want and provides clean cooking stoves that are safe and healthy for families and the environment.” She writes that “[t]hese efforts are making a difference” and concludes, “Through smart, coordinated and committed action, the world could be on the cusp of something truly remarkable — ending preventable child deaths” (6/14).
  • Melinda Gates, Politico: The Child Survival summit “accomplishes two important goals,” Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes. “First, it builds on the historic momentum around child health,” she states, noting bipartisan support for global health in the U.S. and innovative programs being established by developing countries. “Second, it frames the goal as broadly as it should be framed,” Gates writes, adding that “the discussion this week is about the larger goal: Helping children survive, families thrive and nations develop.” She continues, “I always try to remember the big puzzle that the pieces fit into. I try to be clear that the objective is helping people get what they want most — health and prosperity for themselves and their children” (6/14).
  • Rajiv Shah, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: “Over the last 50 years — especially in the last two decades — child mortality has fallen by 70 percent thanks to high-impact interventions like new vaccines, improved health care practices and community health workers,” Shah, USAID administrator, writes, adding, “Despite this progress, more than seven million children will die this year from largely preventable causes before they turn five.” He continues, “We have the scientific, technological and programmatic advances to dramatically accelerate progress,” concluding, “The Call to Action will not only mobilize political leadership, but also achieve consensus on a global roadmap that will highlight innovative and proven strategies to speed up reductions in child mortality” (6/14). 
  • David Winder et al., Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood”: “[I]t’s staggering to think that around 700,000 children’s lives could be saved over the next year by doing something as simple as providing clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene promotion,” Winder, CEO of WaterAid USA, and three other WaterAid chief executives write. Water, sanitation, and hygiene — WASH — “must be seen as an important part of the comprehensive package of essential life-saving interventions. While other interventions such as vaccines, micronutrient supplements and essential medicines have a crucial part to play in improving child survival, access to water, sanitation and hygiene is the long term sustainable answer that leads to not just fewer deaths, but also to greater human and economic development,” they add (6/14).