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Le autopsie che possono salvare la vita dei bambini

SEATTLE – In un’epoca in cui i dati si rivelano più completi e accessibili che mai, siamo abituati a basare le nostre decisioni sulla quantità di prove che riusciamo a raccogliere. Più importante è la decisione, più siamo inclini a garantire ricerche approfondite e informazioni accurate.

Eppure, quando si tratta di una delle decisioni probabilmente più importanti cui dobbiamo far fronte oggi, disponiamo di pochi dati. Tra gli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile, adottati dalle Nazioni Unite lo scorso settembre, rientra l’impegno da parte della comunità internazionale di porre fine alle morti prevenibili dei bambini sotto i cinque anni entro il 2030. E invece, nelle regioni con i tassi di mortalità più elevati, non disponiamo delle informazioni più basilari sul perché muoiano i bambini. Sappiamo che le malattie infettive causano la maggior parte delle morti, ma non sappiamo quali. Quando si tratta di decidere come meglio allocare le nostre risorse, andiamo un po’ alla cieca.

Dal 1990 il tasso di mortalità infantile si è dimezzato; ma quasi sei milioni di bambini sotto i cinque anni muoiono ancora per cause prevenibili. Quattro morti infantili su cinque avvengono nell’Africa sub-sahariana o nell’Asia meridionale, regioni dove ci sono pochi medici e ancor meno patologi. Raramente le cause di morte vengono indagate con test standard. In molti casi non c’è alcun atto ufficiale di decesso.

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