The No child out of reach report, published today, says that while children living in the UK will see a health worker at least 10 times in their first five years, millions of children in Africa and Asia will die every year from easily preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, simply because they have no way of being seen by a trained health worker if they fall sick.
Save the Children is releasing its report as world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly in New York where there will be a major push to secure funding to fill the global shortfall of 3.5 million health workers that is threatening the lives of millions of children across the world.
According to the children’s charity, in Africa - where people shoulder a quarter of the world’s disease burden – children have access to just three per cent of the world’s health workers. Children are five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday if they live in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Liberia - which fall below the World Health Organisation health worker threshold [2.3 health workers per 1000 people] - than children living in countries with enough health workers.
“It is simply not acceptable for a child to die because a midwife or a nurse is out of reach, " Patrick Watt, Director of Policy and Research at Save the Children said. "Training health workers is simple and inexpensive, yet their impact is immeasurable. Hundreds of children’s lives will be saved by the vaccinations a health worker administers, or by the trained help they can give to pregnant mothers.
“World leaders must put an end to this scandal and ensure that all children, regardless of where there are born, are able to see a health worker when they need it the most.”
The report also shows that progress is possible with the right political will and investment. In low income countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal, greater investment in community health workers has reduced the number of children dying. Both countries are now among the few on track to meet the UN’s global goal to cut the child mortality rate by two thirds by 2015.Reuse content