Baku-APA. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a global action initiative Friday to save up to two million children every year from deaths caused by pneumonia and diarrhoea by the year of 2025, APA reports quoting Xinhua.
Pneumonia and diarrhoea account for 29 percent of the current 6. 9 million deaths of children under five years of age each year, according to the WHO.
Besides the virtual elimination of deaths from both diseases, the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea aimed for a 75 percent cut in the incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea from the 2010 levels in the same age-group.
It was also calculated to reduce the global number of children under age five who are stunted by 40 percent by 2025.
The plan said that although effective interventions to the two diseases have been well established, they were not always promoted together to achieve maximum benefits.
It called for closer integration of efforts to prevent and treat the two diseases, including establishing and promoting good health practices, ensuring universal coverage of immunization, HIV prevention and healthy environments, and treating children suffering from the diseases with appropriate medication.
Elizabeth Mason, director of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the WHO, told reporters that an estimated 6 billion U.S. dollars would be needed in order to achieve the targets.
Marilena Viviani, associate director of Programme Partnerships at the UNICEF, said nearly 90 percent of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths in children currently occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and the children there are less likely to be vaccinated.
The plan called on governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investments in the populations groups with the worst access to services to prevent and treat the two diseases.