The three primary killers of children under 5 years of age -- pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria -- are both preventable and treatable with simple and cost-effective interventions. Efforts to end these preventable child deaths will only be successful when integrated packages of interventions are available to the population most at risk.
This is what I typically hear from partners about NetsforLife®, Episcopal Relief & Development's comprehensive malaria prevention program. They express overwhelming gratitude for the change they are witnessing in their communities.
Over 60 percent of Africans live in rural areas, far from any health facility or hospital. Most of them will never see a doctor in their lifetime. Instead, they depend on the care of community health workers, nurses, traditional birth attendants and midwives, if they are lucky enough to have one who lives nearby and is qualified to deliver effective health care.
We can't forget her. We can't forget any of them: the expectant mothers in still-developing nations who hope against long odds to make it through their pregnancies and safely deliver healthy babies. Despite global strides in improving maternal health, the journey of these women remains treacherous. Last July, I got an up-close look.
When we talk about ways the world can help end preventable child deaths, we have to pay greater attention to malnutrition--the cause of almost half of all deaths of children under age 5. But as we think about how to tackle the pervasive and deadly problem of child malnutrition, we have to put greater focus on the nutrition of mothers.