We moeten de kindermoordenaars verslaan

GENÈVE – Als je de meeste mensen vraagt wat de twee grootste doodsoorzaken onder kinderen zijn, zullen ze zeer waarschijnlijk malaria en hiv noemen. Maar in feite zijn het longontsteking en diarree – de “vergeten moordenaars” – die verantwoordelijk zijn voor het hoogste dodental en ieder jaar ruim twee miljoen van de meest kwetsbare levens eisen.

Gezamenlijk nemen deze twee ziekten 29% van alle sterfgevallen van kinderen onder de vijf jaar voor hun rekening. Dat is meer dan twee maal het totaal voor hiv en malaria samen, en bijna net zo veel als dat van alle andere infectieziekten, verwondingen en andere post-natale aandoeningen bij elkaar.

Maar hoe schokkend deze statistieken ook mogen zijn, wat misschien nog verrassender is, is hoe goed longontsteking en diarree te voorkomen zijn – zo goed zelfs dat het redelijk voorstelbaar is om maatregelen door te voeren die het aantal sterfgevallen tegen 2025 tot nul zouden kunnen terugbrengen. Dat is precies wat we nu willen doen.

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