12 Apr 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
New Delhi: The WHO and theUNICEF have released the 'Global action plan for the prevention and control of pneumonia and diarrhoea' (GAPPD) report, which provides the up-to-date strategies and evidence needed to significantly reduce childhood deaths and illness.
Moreover, it is for the first time that GAPPD is simultaneously taking on the two leading killers of children, including pneumonia and diarrhoea. It is estimated that in India, these diseases are responsible for nearly one-third of deaths in children under age five, claiming more than two million lives each year. While diarrhoea accounts for about 12 percent, pneumonia accounts for 23 percent of deaths in children aged under-five in India.
The GAPPD report is based on recent data and evidence collected in a special series published in The Lancet. It provides a framework to protect children, prevent disease and treat children, who become sick using proven interventions that have contributed to major reduction in child deaths. GAPPD called on national governments to prioritize the fight against pneumonia and diarrhoea and is designed to inform country policies and practices. The report made recommendations to governments on interventions that will help reduce child deaths due to these diseases.
Dr Naveen Thacker, standing committee member, International Pediatric Association, and president elect, Asia Pacific Pediatric Association, while speaking about the initiative, said that, "We know what happens when the world comes together to take on killer diseases. We've eliminated the threat of small pox and we are drawing close to eradicating polio. Pneumonia and diarrhea could be next, if we come together again to take action now by prioritizing and implementing the integrated approach laid out in the GAPPD."
Dr Madhumita Dobe, director and professor of public health and head, Department of Health Education, AIIH&PH, Kolkata; and chairperson, Indian Academy of Public Health (IAPH), said that, "Diarrheal disease is largely preventable and improving access to wash can play a huge role in preventing the condition, alongside treatment with oral rehydration solution and safe and healthy feeding processes."
Dr Dipika Sur, secretary general, IPHA Kolkata, pointed out that diarrheal disease also plays a significant role in persistent problems of malnutrition, which in turn, can lead to stunted growth and impairment to future cognitive development, conditions that will have a detrimental impact on any child's chances of succeeding in education, becoming fully economically active, or raising a healthy and productive family of their own.