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USAID’s Shah Urges Cooperation To Improve Child Health, Survival

“Seeing a child die from pneumonia, diarrhea or a mosquito bite is simply unimaginable to most parents. But that is the sad reality for many families each day,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah writes in a Huffington Post Blog opinion piece, noting, “Last year over seven million children under five died of largely preventable causes.” He continues, “Today, the global community has the knowledge and the affordable tools to change the course of history,” including bednets, vaccines, and childbirth assistance. “At the current annual rate of decline of 2.6 percent, the gap in child death between rich and poor countries would persist until nearly the end of this century. But we are capable of much more. By working closely with countries and continuing our results-oriented investments in global health, we can bring the rate of child mortality in poor countries to the same level it is in rich countries,” he states.

Shah notes that at an event on Monday at the Kaiser Family Foundation, he will “lay the groundwork for a Child Survival: Call to Action in June, when the governments of the United States, India and Ethiopia will join together with UNICEF to mobilize the world to end preventable child deaths. Our focus is on building political will and driving collective action around a global roadmap — and developing mechanisms to hold all countries to account.” In addition, he will “launch ‘Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday,’ an awareness-raising campaign led by the U.S. Agency for International Development to raise awareness ahead of the Call to Action.” He urges readers to watch a webcast of the event, join a Twitter conversation using the hash tag #5thBDay, and visit the 5thBDay.usaid.gov website to learn more. “Everyone has a role to play when it comes to the survival of the world’s children. All we have to do is act,” Shah concludes (4/22).