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Las autopsias pueden salvar vidas de niños

SEATTLE – Vivimos en una época de datos abundantes y accesibles, y estamos habituados a basar nuestras decisiones en tanta evidencia como podamos reunir. Cuanto más importante la decisión, más nos esforzamos en investigar a conciencia y obtener información exacta.

Sin embargo, en relación con uno de los desafíos más importantes de la actualidad, tenemos muy pocos datos. Como parte de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible adoptados por las Naciones Unidas el pasado septiembre, la comunidad internacional se comprometió a poner fin a las muertes evitables de niños de menos de cinco años antes de 2030. Pero en las regiones con mayores tasas de mortalidad infantil, no tenemos información básica sobre las causas de muerte. Sabemos que en la mayoría de los casos se trata de enfermedades infecciosas, pero no cuáles. Para una asignación razonada de recursos, es el equivalente a volar sin instrumentos.

Desde 1990, hemos reducido a la mitad la mortalidad infantil en todo el mundo; pero todavía en un año mueren casi seis millones de niños de menos de cinco años por causas evitables. Cuatro de cada cinco muertes infantiles ocurren en África subsahariana o el sur de Asia: regiones donde hay pocos médicos y todavía menos patólogos. Las causas de muerte rara vez se investigan, y en muchos casos, ni siquiera se lleva un registro oficial de los decesos.

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