Child covering his eyes.

Stop de kindermoordenaars

SEATTLE – Op veel te veel plekken in de wereld zijn de grootste oorzaken van kindersterfte de kleinste organismen – de virussen, bacteriën en eencellige parasieten die diarree en longontsteking teweegbrengen. Gezien de enorme vooruitgang die is geboekt op het terrein van de volksgezondheid – beide ziekten zijn te voorkomen en te genezen – is dit onvergeeflijk. Het is hard nodig dat alle kinderen, vooral de kinderen die het grootste risico lopen, toegang krijgen tot levensreddende gezondheidszorg.

Volgens UNICEF zijn longontsteking en diarree verantwoordelijk voor een kwart van de 5,9 miljoen jaarlijkse sterfgevallen onder kinderen van nog geen vijf jaar oud. En uit een nieuw rapport van het International Vaccine Access Center blijkt dat bijna driekwart van de sterfgevallen als gevolg van longontsteking en diarree zich in slechts vijftien landen voordoet. In deze landen en elders zijn zulke sterfgevallen het talrijkst onder de armste en meest gemarginaliseerde gemeenschappen.

Hoewel de cijfers de vooruitgang van de afgelopen decennia weerspiegelen, is het tragisch dat de verbeteringen veel omvangrijker hadden kunnen zijn als overheden niet voortdurend waren gezwicht voor de verleiding om zich telkens maar op één of twee interventies te richten. Om voor eens en voor altijd een einde te maken aan de kindersterfte door toedoen van deze ziekten moeten overheden zich verplichten tot het gelijktijdig opschalen van alle interventies die twee jaar geleden door de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) en UNICEF zijn geïdentificeerd, in hun intregrale Mondiale Actieplan tegen Longontsteking en Diarree.

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