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Tackling Diarrhea, Pneumonia Could Save 2M Children, According To UNICEF Report

“Two million of the world’s poorest children could be saved by introducing routine vaccination programs against diarrhea and pneumonia,” according to a new report (.pdf) from UNICEF, BBC News reports (6/8). “Pneumonia and diarrhea account for nearly one-third of the deaths among children under five globally,” the Guardian writes, adding, “Nearly 90 percent of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia” (Tran, 6/8). The report “identifies a tremendous opportunity to narrow the child survival gap both among and within countries by increasing commitment, attention and funding,” according to a press release from UNICEF (6/8).

“‘Scaling up simple interventions could overcome two of the biggest obstacles to increasing child survival (and) help give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive,’ said Anthony Lake, executive director of [UNICEF],” Reuters reports. “The study called for coherent and reliable distribution plans for new vaccines against the major causes of pneumonia and diarrhea — including the influenza virus, rotavirus and pneumococcal bacteria,” the news service adds (Pierson, 6/8). The report “is being issued shortly before the launch of a major global initiative on child survival in Washington, D.C. on [June] 14-15,” the UNICEF press release notes (6/8).