Every year, 8.1 million children under the age of five die from preventable, easily treatable diseases.
Global Health: Problems and Solutions
With an estimated 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, Concern recognizes that poverty, inequality and marginalization are both the root causes and consequences of poor health.
While the global number of deaths among children under the age of five has declined steadily over the past decade, death rates have remained constant or continued to rise in 25 of the world's poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa now accounts for half of all these deaths, most of which are related to neonatal causes, respiratory infections, diarrhea, and malaria, with malnutrition an underlying cause in about one third -the majority of these conditions are preventable or easily treatable.
Equally alarming are the threats to women's health. Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of premature death among poor women in developing countries. Less than half of all women giving birth in Africa and Southern Asia are attended to by skilled health personnel. Every minute, a woman dies from complications related to childbirth and many more suffer debilitating injuries.
The solutions to these global health problems are as simple as they are difficult to achieve. At least six million lives could be saved each year if all mothers and children had access to affordable health interventions. A further 2.2 million child deaths could be prevented through improvements in hygiene behavior and the provision of safe sanitation and clean drinking water. And if we could eliminate malnutrition-which contributes to at least a third of all deaths among children under five-countless more lives would be saved.Read more:The CORE Group | Global Health Council | UNICEF: The State of the World's Children 2011 | UN Millennium Development Goals | World Health Organization | Concern Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
How Concern is Meeting the Challenge
For 44 years, Concern Worldwide has been helping the poorest people in the least developed countries of the world attain their fundamental rights to primary health care. We work in partnership with local communities to develop sustainable, lifesaving health solutions benefiting the most vulnerable people.
In 2011, Concern's health program spanned 24 countries, reaching 1.5 million people in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Our programs serve the urban and rural poor in areas otherwise neglected by health policy and resources.
Concern's health programs target three critical areas:
- Nutrition. Last year, Concern's nutrition programs reached more than 507,000 people
- Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. In the past year, our maternal newborn and child health programs directly reached 668,000 people
- Water and Sanitation. Concern's water and sanitation programs impacted 513,000 people.
Advocacy is an increasingly significant part of Concern's health program and takes place at all levels-from local advocacy based on individual country programs to advocacy influencing key global policies. At a national level, Concern works with governments and community groups to advance health and nutrition policies that better address acute malnutrition and improve access to quality maternal and child health services.
In 2011, Concern Worldwide and Bread for the World gathered more than 350 high-level government officials, leaders of civil society organizations, and activists from all over to world to build political momentum for nutrition. Read more about the Thousand Days Partnership and Concern's role in influencing international policy.
Working on a global level, Concern has established strategic partnerships with Valid International, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), UNICEF, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, US Coalition for Child Survival, CORE Group, and the Clinton Global Initiative.
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