Child covering his eyes.

El imperativo de controlar las infecciones letales para la infancia

SEATTLE – En demasiados lugares del planeta los mayores agentes letales de la infancia son los organismos más pequeños: virus, bacterias y parásitos unicelulares causantes de la diarrea y la neumonía. Se trata de una situación inexcusable si se consideran los enormes avances en el ámbito de la salud pública (ambas enfermedades son prevenibles y curables). Es imperativo que todos los niños, especialmente los que se encuentren en riesgo, tengan acceso a servicios de atención salud que pueden salvar sus vidas.

Según la UNICEF, la neumonía y la diarrea son causantes de un cuarto de los 5,9 millones de niños de menos de 5 años que mueren al año en el mundo. Un estudio reciente de Centro Internacional de Acceso a las Vacunas indica que cerca de tres cuartos de los fallecimientos por neumonía y diarrea ocurren en apenas 15 países y que su mayor prevalencia coincide con las comunidades más pobres y marginalizadas.

Si bien las cifras reflejan avances en las últimas décadas, la tragedia es que la mejora podría haber sido mucho mayor si los gobiernos no hubiesen sucumbido a la tentación de centrarse en una o dos intervenciones por vez. Para acabar de una vez por todas con las muertes infantiles causadas por estas enfermedades, los gobiernos se deben comprometer a elevar en simultáneo el conjunto completo de las intervenciones que hace dos años fueran señaladas por la Organización Mundial de la Salud y la UNICEF en su informe conjunto Plan de Acción Global para la Neumonía y la Diarrea.

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