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General

Childhood diseases : Malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea….

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The leading cause of death in children younger than 5 around 800,000 children each year. In many regions in the world, children die in a matter of minutes from pneumonia even though it is preventable and could be treated with antibiotics.

Pneumonia is a disease that is caused by inequality, which is a particular problem for the populations with the lowest incomes across the world.

Children’s deaths due to pneumonia are often linked to malnutrition and unsafe drinking water and sanitation in the indoor environment, and inaccessible medical healthcare.

All of these issues are added to the mix by poverty, which makes pneumonia a disease that is rooted in inequality, which is a particular problem for the poorest communities around the world.

But easy preventive, protective, and treatment solutions are out there:

  • The protection measures of breastfeeding exclusively in a healthy, balanced and complete feeding regimen and vitamin A supplements provide the basis for keeping children healthy and free from diseases.
  • Prevention measures like vaccinations and a reduction in household air pollution and drinking water that is safe for consumption sanitation and hygiene to protect children from illness.
  • The use of antibiotics is crucial for treating pneumonia. In 2018 UNICEF gave antibiotics to more than 6.8 million children across the 63 countries.

Diarrhea

Recent years have seen significant advancements have been made to reduce the deaths of children due to diarrhea. Diarrhea, however, remains a major cause of death for children, especially in settings that are geared towards humanitarian needs.

Diarrhea was the leading cause of death for nearly 480,000 infants and children across the world, accounting for around 8 percent of all deaths in children younger than 5 years old. The majority of deaths due to diarrhea happen in children under the age of two living within South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.

The youngsters could be saved through simple and effective measures including zinc and salts for oral rehydration About 70 to 90 percent of deaths due to acute diarrhea watery could be avoided by using salt for oral rehydration, while zinc is believed to cut down diarrhea-related mortality by 11.5 percent. Proper fluids, breastfeeding, continuous eating, and the use of selective antibiotics are essential as well.

In the year 2018, UNICEF distributed more than 100 million zinc tablets and over 56 million salts for oral rehydration Sachets around the world, with over 9 million packets in Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. UNICEF also makes use of its resources and know-how in nutrition, health, education, and behavioral communication; as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene to aid in the prevention of diarrhea and its treatment.

Malaria

Malaria is the third-leading cause of death for children who are between the ages of 1 month and five years old in the order of diarrhea and pneumonia. In 2019, around 274,000 kids under five years old passed away from malaria, accounting for 67 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide.

Every two minutes children die from malaria.

The elimination of malaria requires greater global investment – especially in development and research.

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are believed to be a reliable protection against malaria. Moreover, quick diagnosis has been proven to be crucial to ensuring treatment. UNICEF is in close collaboration with its partners to provide essential items, such as mosquito nets, quick screening tests, and antimalarials to children who are at the highest risk of contracting malaria. We ensure healthcare and treatment are available to affected children wherever they are, whether in medical facilities or via properly trained and equipped health professionals in the community.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a condition that is well-known to treat and prevent. Yet, nearly 600 children below 15 years old suffer from the disease every day – almost one-quarter million per year. The majority of deaths happen in children younger than five years old.

Although countries have developed procedures for TB prevention as well as surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment for adults, children are being left out of the loop. Of the one million children who are diagnosed with tuberculosis each year less than half are recognized and monitored by national programs.

Ninety-six percent of children who are affected by tuberculosis have never sought treatment.

The children are also out in the funding process. Although they make up around 10% of all tuberculosis sufferers they only account for 3 percent of the total funding for development and research.

To address this issue, UNICEF works closely with government officials and other partners to integrate TB treatments and prevention into strategies for child health. We assist countries in improving the quality of primary health care at the level of the community, improving awareness and knowledge of tuberculosis, and building up systems to provide TB services such as screening as well as vaccination and treatment.

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