14 Nov Blog Series from the 2016 Progress Report
Article posted on November 14, 2016.
Stop Pneumonia to feature country profiles, Q&As, and essays that inspire and inform
- This is the first in a series of excerpts from the 2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report.
- We aren’t making progress fast enough if we are serious about meeting the new SDG target on child health of reducing mortality.
- We urgently need to find actionable approaches to accelerate the deployment of life-saving solutions.
Beginning in November, Stop Pneumonia is featuring a series of excerpts from the 2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report: Reaching Goals Through Action and Innovation. The annual report identifies the 15 countries with the greatest number of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea among children under the age of five. In addition, the country profiles, Q&As, and essays focus on how to save children’s lives through action and innovation. The report is produced by the International Vaccine Access Center, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report
By: Kate O’Brien, MD, MPH, Executive Director, International Vaccine Access Center
The 2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report: Reaching Goals Through Action and Innovation is our seventh annual Progress Report, but the first in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that ended in 2015. The 17 SDGs have been agreed upon within the global community, with SDG 3’s (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) second target (3.2) focused on child survival and eighth target (3.8) focused on access to essential medicines and vaccines for all. With these new and ever more ambitious targets set, it is time to evaluate the progress made to date—noting achievements, highlighting lessons learned, drawing attention to unfinished business, and planning how to accelerate progress to address the challenges we must now face.
Although unprecedented progress has been made in reducing maternal and child mortality, and in the fight against infectious diseases, many country MDG targets were not met. We can learn how to achieve more, by evaluating what went well, and learning from what did not. We are not making progress fast enough if we are serious about meeting the new SDG target on child health of reducing mortality to at least as low as 25 deaths per 1000 live births in children under the age of 5 years.
The rate of all-cause mortality in this age group has been cut by more than half worldwide since 1990, from 91 deaths per 1000 live births to 43 in 2015. Although this is an enormous achievement, pneumonia and diarrhea’s contribution to under-5 deaths remains stubbornly high. In 2015, these two diseases together were responsible for nearly one of every four deaths that occurred in children under five.
There are simple proven interventions to prevent these deaths, including vaccines, antibiotics, exclusive breastfeeding, and access to treatment and care. We urgently need to find actionable approaches to accelerate the deployment of these life-saving solutions to ensure that there is continued positive progress in reducing preventable child deaths. But this may not be enough. As new targets are being set, we need to take stock and go beyond business as usual.
The 2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report focuses on action and innovation. These can be found in new technologies and approaches, but also in new ways of providing services, innovative thinking in reaching communities with existing tools and new or improved applications to help move the needle of progress and shrink existing inequities.
As we move forward and set even more ambitious targets, I call on all of us to address this unfinished agenda. Key to achieving this will be common efforts supported by national governments and development partners to find and commit to implementing innovative ways and actions to accelerate progress toward a healthier future for all children.
It’s clear we must keep the promise to stop pneumonia and diarrhea now.