AIDS-Related Deaths Worldwide Keep Child Mortality Rates High Despite Progress, UNICEF Canada Says
Despite significant progress in reducing childhood deaths over the last 50 years, 29,000 children under age five die each day from preventable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, according to a new report by UNICEF Canada released on Wednesday, the CP/Canada.com reports. According to the report, HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest threats to child health. Mortality rates in 14 countries -- nine of which are in sub-Saharan Africa -- have increased in recent years, primarily because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the report says (Ubelacker, CP/Canada.com , 2/22). In addition, about 1,800 children each day contract HIV, mostly through mother-to-child transmission, the report says. Although there are effective treatments to prevent vertical HIV transmission, only 10% of pregnant women in developing countries have access to such treatments, according to the report. HIV also makes children more susceptible to other diseases, such as measles, pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea, the report says (UNICEF Canada release, 2/22). "With the advances of the past five decades, we could bring these diseases to their knees and break the back of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but we need greater political will and action," UNICEF Canada CEO Nigel Fisher said. He added that integrated treatment and prevention programs must be made available to all children to curb the pandemic (CP/Canada.com , 2/22). Canada will donate about $40.5 million dollars to UNICEF, International Cooperation Minister Josee Verner announced at a news conference Wednesday, the CP/Canada.com reports. The funds will be directed primarily to Africa, Verner said (CP/Canada.com , 2/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.