children playing Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Financing Health and Education for All

Our world is immensely wealthy and could easily finance a healthy start in life for every child on the planet. A small shift of financing from wasteful US military spending to global funds for health and education, or a very small levy on tax havens’ deposits, would make the world vastly fairer, safer, and more productive.

NEW YORK – In 2015, around 5.9 million children under the age of five, almost all in developing countries, died from easily preventable or treatable causes. And up to 200 million young children and adolescents do not attend primary or secondary school, owing to poverty, including 110 million through the lower-secondary level, according to a recent estimate. In both cases, massive suffering could be ended with a modest amount of global funding.

Children in poor countries die from causes – such as unsafe childbirth, vaccine-preventable diseases, infections such as malaria for which low-cost treatments exist, and nutritional deficiencies – that have been almost totally eliminated in the rich countries. In a moral world, we would devote our utmost effort to end such deaths.

In fact, the world has made a half-hearted effort. Deaths of young children have fallen to slightly under half the 12.7 million recorded in 1990, thanks to additional global funding for disease control, channeled through new institutions such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

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