introductions - A Global Movement is Needed Over the past decade there has been a growing realization that poverty and health are very closely linked We

introductions - A Global Movement is Needed Over the past...

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A Global Movement is Needed Over the past decade, there has been a growing realization that poverty and health are very closely linked. We now know that a few diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, childhood diseases, and reproductive health conditions are directly biting into the economic growth of poor countries. And there is increasing recognition of the sheer difficulty faced by developing nations as they seek to counter these health threats. As the success stories that follow show, it is possible to reverse the impact of infectious diseases and reproductive health conditions even in the poorest countries. We know what works. A number of health interventions and tools can dramatically reduce deaths from the main killer diseases. They include insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria and malaria treatment for pregnant women and children, prevention and care programmes for HIV/AIDS, DOTS strategy to control TB, immunization to prevent measles, and antibiotics to prevent pneumonia deaths among children. If we can take these interventions to scale, making them available worldwide, we will have in our hands a concrete, result-oriented, and measurable way of starting to reduce poverty. Meanwhile, intensified efforts are also needed to help accelerate the research and development of new tools and to push for reductions in the price of urgently needed medicines and vaccines. To achieve this, we need a global movement that can make the control of infectious diseases one of the highest social and political priorities of this decade. We need a movement that stimulates people in all countries to find their own best way of carrying the initiative forward. And we need a movement that is inclusive, pluralistic, and positive, but at the same time doesn t lose its focus and determination. In short, we are asking for a massive effort. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland Director-General WHO An Historic Opportunity to Protect Children For too long, poor communities have been engulfed in the cycle of poverty and disease. Poverty increases vulnerability to disease through limiting access to health care, information, education , safe water, sanitation, adequate diet, and through other violations of children s rights. And sickness perpetuates poverty. When illness strikes, people who are poor are driven deeper into poverty unable to work and care for or educate their children. This situation is often aggravated by the lack of knowledge, skills, and resources necessary for the prevention and care of childhood diseases. A recent World Bank Report revealed that malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, measles, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis in children are the largest contributors to the health gap between the poor and the rich. Nearly 70% of all deaths from communicable diseases occur in children under the age of fourteen.
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