The child survival gap within and between countries can be narrowed if
proven and cost-effective interventions for pneumonia and diarrhoea are
scaled up to reach the most disadvantaged children, according to a new
report from UNICEF.
The report, Pneumonia and diarrhoea:
Tackling the deadliest diseases for the world's poorest children,
focuses on the two diseases as two primary killers of children under the
age of five.
"Scaling up simple interventions could
overcome two of the biggest obstacles to increasing child survival, help
give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive," said Anthony
Lake , UNICEF Executive Director.
In Vietnam , as many
as 7 percent of children under five had diarrhoea in the past two
weeks. More than a half of the children with diarrhoea received oral
re-hydration salts (ORS), and 70 percent received ORS or homemade
Meanwhile, over 3 percent of children age 0-59
months were reported to have had symptoms of pneumonia during the last
two weeks. Of these children, 73 percent were taken to an appropriate
healthcare provider, and 68 percent received antibiotics for suspected
A simple and effective way to safeguard babies
from disease is exclusive breastfeeding. Yet less than one in five
infants younger than six months of age in the country are exclusively
breastfed, depriving them of this critical protection.
Limited access to decent sanitation also continues to put millions of
children at risk of contracting diarrhoea diseases. In Vietnam , an
estimated 6.5 percent of the population resort to open defecation and
close to half of the population in rural areas do not use sanitation
In addition, only 70 percent of poorest
households in Vietnam have a handwashing place where water and soap
is available in their home, while close to 98 percent of the richest
households have a handwashing place available.
deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea can be significantly reduced by
tackling these problems and focusing efforts on the poorest
communities," said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Vietnam Representative.
"Through this, the tremendous progress in reducing the number of child
deaths each year in Vietnam can be accelerated, saving even more
Luu Thi My Thuc, a doctor at the National Hospital
of Paediatrics, said changeable weather recently made children
suffering from respiratory diseases increased.
On peak days, each doctor must examine nearly 100 children per day whereas on normal days he/she examine about 20 only.
"Parents let their children stay in rooms with air conditioners thus
the children cannot adapt to hot weather when they get out of the
rooms," she said.
As many as 80 percent of children having examines for respiratory diseases must be hospitalised for pneumonia.
The country's mortality rates among children under five decreased
dramatically from 51 per 1,000 births in 1990 to 23 per 1,000 births in
2010. Pneumonia and diarrhea was accounted for 12 percent and 10 percent
of the under-5 deaths, respectively.-VNA