World Vision in Sh111b global campaign

November 14, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14- World Vision is set to launch a Sh111 billion shillings global child mortality campaign in Nairobi and New York on Monday.

The global Non Governmental Organization has committed Sh111 billion shillings to reduce global child mortality by two thirds by the year 2015.

World Vision Ambassador for the African Region Wilfred Mlay says the five year Global Child Health Campaign focuses on improving the health of mothers and children to ensure that children experience a full life.

“These deaths are caused by preventable causes and we hope that by the year 2015 we will have reduced the global child mortality from nine million to three million per year,” he said.

Prof Mlay noted that although Kenya boasted of a significant 36 percent decline in child mortality (according to the just concluded health demographic health survey) it could still do much better.

“Under-five mortality declined from 115 deaths per 1000 live births to 74. This is a substantial improvement but it is still an unacceptable level of deaths for children. In fact the global average is that anything above 40 per thousand is unacceptable,” he explained.

He added that if Kenya was to judge the progress made by looking at the Millennium development goal number four then Kenya would realize that she was still off mark.

“In the year 2000 world leaders pledged to reduce child deaths by two thirds within 15 years (Millennium Development Goal four). Going by their pledge we have only been able to achieve a third of the target in ten years and we only have five years to cover the other two thirds,” he stated.

Prof Mlay was however quick to point out that it was possible to achieve the remaining two-thirds reduction in child deaths within five years if everyone played their part.

“If we pressure our governments to meet their commitments, if we ensure that our health systems are operating at the community and family levels then we can do it. World Vision cannot do it alone but if we combine all forces we will accomplish this task. That is why we are saying child health now; if not now when?” he quipped.

Prof Mlay who was speaking during an exclusive interview with Capital News further said that a report conducted by Global Vision indicated that 99 percent of the nine million children who died were from developing countries adding that there was great need to hold governments accountable.

“The main cause of these deaths is largely poverty but lack of political will by our leaders to prioritise child and maternal health is also a contributing factor. We hope that we can mobilise communities and our supporters to ensure that governments (those whose responsibility it is to ensure child health) are actually playing their part,” he held.

Prof Mlay called on governments to ensure that they had a national health plan that gave priority to child and maternal health and also asked donors to assist governments get efficient health plans adding that dependable funding was also crucial.

“We are asking donor governments to ensure that these national health plans are fully funded in a predictable, systematic and timely fashion. Governments should also ensure that neglected diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea are given a priority in the national Health policies,” he stated.

Prof Mlay stated that World Vision was proposing simple methods that would combat malaria, diarrhoea, measles and malnutrition in children in order to reduce child mortality and not huge investments like hospital construction or capital investments.

“What we are asking for is not huge amounts of money or huge programmes. What we are saying is that there are simple ways that if adopted at the family and community level can reduce these deaths. They include: ensuring complete coverage of immunisation for children, that birth attendants are trained at the community level, providing insecticide treated nets and ensuring clean water,” he observed.  

He also called for the monitoring and evaluation of the national health policies to be done on an annual basis and with community involvement.

“We want communities to participate both in data gathering and dissemination of the national health policies so that they can hold their leaders accountable for the results,” he said.   

The campaign will also lobby governments to help address Millennium Development Goal five which is to reduce maternal death and Millennium Development Goal Number six whose aim is to fight HIV and AIDS.


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