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March 8, 2023

In The News: ‘Reach the Children Being Left Behind’: WHO Official Eyes Future of Pediatric Care

Healio shares a presentation at the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference by Wilson Milton Were, MBChB, World Health Organization’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Aging. During his talk, ‘Pediatric Infectious Diseases: Progress and the Unfinished Global Agenda’, Dr. Were encouraged higher income health care communities to reach the children being left behind by acting on a scale to address preventable child mortality in lower- and middle-income countries.

The child portion of population is projected to grow significantly in Africa and Asia. Dr. Were calls for rethinking of health systems to respond to the burden of infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases that will be added due to these increases. Additionally, those areas correspond with the highest under 5 mortality rate (according to 2021 data) and where preventable mortality due to poor-quality health care occurs.

“For the post-neonatal period, pneumonia and diarrhea still remain the major causes of death, and all these conditions are treatable. We are seeing the numbers of premature babies being born increasing, and we will need a lot of redesign and upgrading of the health systems in order for us to deal with this mortality.” – Dr. Were

The disparity between higher-income countries and lower- and middle-income countries must also be addressed to improve primary care and coverage, according to Dr. Were. The latter countries will not be able to address challenges on their own. It is important to foster effective partnerships to meet the problems and ensure all children, everywhere grow up in supportive health systems.

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