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Sat Sep 21, 2019, 06:39 PM

Almost Everywhere, Fewer Children Are Dying

Almost Everywhere, Fewer Children Are Dying

By Josh Katz, Alicia Parlapiano and Margot Sanger-Katz at the NY Times

Sept. 17, 2019



Experts say reduced childhood mortality is also a marker of healthier, more stable conditions for adults. Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization’s center on global health law, described it as a health version of “the canary in the coal mine.”

Mothers who lose fewer young children tend to have fewer children, reducing their own risk of death in childbirth and increasing their ability to improve the economic prospects of their households, said Ashish Jha, a physician with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “It has huge implications for the family,” he said.

The overwhelming majority of child deaths are preventable. Adequate nutrition, water, sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics can save many lives. And it’s not always a matter of money; often there are cultural or political roadblocks. Malnutrition was a contributing factor in nearly half of these deaths.


But, he said, for a big-picture sense of how things have changed over time and place, estimates like these are “probably the best you can do.”


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