Each year, millions of children under the age of five die due to conditions which could be easily prevented or treated with affordable interventions. In 2015, 5.9 million children died before their fifth birthday. The leading causes of death were preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhea, and malaria. Roughly 45% of all deaths were associated with malnutrition.
In response, our approach to child survival is to improve access to lifesaving interventions during pregnancy, postnatal period, and during the child’s first five years of life. We work through multiple channels (e.g. community health workers, pharmacies, drug shops, public and private health facilities) to ensure children receive the care they need, when they need it, regardless of where they seek care. We also use formative research to design marketing and communications campaigns that stimulate demand for health products and services. These campaigns using a variety of channels, such as mass media, community level events and interpersonal communication.
Neonatal health: The first hours, days, and month are the most dangerous for a newborn. Nearly 40% of all under-five deaths take place during the first 28 days of life.Three quarters of these deaths take place within the first week, of which over two thirds die on the first day. Our neonatal health strategy maximizes the services available to mothers to ensure the survival of their newborns, making use of current contact points we have across the world. Our network members already offer health services and partnerships with ministries of health and other organizations. We are able to provide outreach through them, to increase awareness and access to essential care for newborns during their most vulnerable period.
We fully endorse and promote the Essential Newborn Care approach, an integrated set of interventions that includes immediate initiation of exclusive breastfeeding, Kangaroo Mother Care, delayed bathing and early detection of infection. All these interventions can be delivered by community health workers during home visits.
We also work to increase access to, and use of, Chlorhexidine, a simple and inexpensive antiseptic used to prevent infection. Our diverse health service delivery approach enables increased access to chlorhexidine at scale. Many of these interventions are low-cost and can be carried out entirely within the framework of existing government programs and private-sector channels to strengthen local health systems and increase sustainability.
Integrated Case Management:
Our integrated case management programs reduce death and severe disease through prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment, where and when people need it. We prioritize the major killers of children under five: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition. Through training, supportive supervision, and supply chain stimulation, our integrated case management (ICM) programs improve access to high quality diagnosis and treatment services for pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition. Simultaneously, programs increase demand among caregivers to seek these services from trained providers. By working through a variety of channels (e.g. pharmacy networks, franchised and non-franchised private clinics and community health workers), our ICM programs ensure that caregivers of children under five have access to the quality services and commodities they need, wherever they chose to seek care.
To reduce the number of children dying from:
- Make antibiotic treatment accessible and affordable, especially to facilities utilized by low income families.
- Help private and community-based providers better identify pneumonia and use a full course of antibiotics.
- Promote early care seeking behaviors from the parents and caregivers of small children and babies.
- Increase access to diarrhea treatment kits (pre-packaged combination of ORS and zinc), either through direct distribution or market facilitation.
- Promote early care-seeking for diarrhea, and use of treatment that reduces the duration and severity of diarrhea episodes.
- Ensure diagnosis (with malaria Rapid Diagnostics Tests) before treatment with Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) wherever patients seeks care, prioritizing the private sector and community-based channels.
- Target severe acute malnutrition (SAM) interventions in emergency contexts where the need is the highest.
- Integrate treatment of SAM using a community-based management approach. Given our vast network of community health workers and social franchises, outreach and care can be provided on an outpatient basis through early identification of children with acute malnutrition.
Our child health work is focused on the following areas. Click on a link to learn more about our interventions:
Neonatal health: We increase the demand for,and access to,life saving neonatal health interventions such as:
- Chlorhexidine: We promote access to, and use of, this low-cost antiseptic for umbilical cord care.
- Breastfeeding: We provide mothers with messages about the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and appropriate and timely complementary breastfeeding for children after six months.
- Prenatal vitamins: We promote iron-folic acid supplements and multivitamins for pregnant women, which supports the development of the fetus.
Pneumonia: We focus on integrated case management and pre-packaged treatment to ensure access to appropriate and affordable care.
- Pre-Packaged Treatment: We educate caregivers on the importance of prompt care seeking behavior and where to go when a child presents with cough and rapid breathing, and we distribute pre-packaged therapy for pneumonia.
- Exclusive Breastfeeding: We provide mothers with messages about the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and appropriate and timely complementary breastfeeding for children after six months.
Diarrheal Disease: Our programs focus on prevention through water and sanitation interventions, nutritional interventions, and diagnosis and treatment.
- Nutrition: We reduce morbidity and mortality related to undernutrition through prevention of nutritional deficiencies, use of supplements, and therapeutic management of severe acute malnutrition.
- WASH: Our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs improve the health of low-income families in the developing world by increasing access to and use of WASH products and services, such as household water treatment and toilets.
- Diarrhea Treatment Kits: We promote the use of oral rehydration solution and Zinc for the management of diarrhea cases.
Malaria: At the forefront of global malaria control efforts, we provide interventions that support national ministry of health programs in 38 countries.
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