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50 million children will never see a health worker in their lives

Wednesday 21 September 2011, 8:43AM
By Save The Children
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WELLINGTON

At least 350 million children will never see a health worker in their lives, warns Save the Children in a major new report released today, No Child Out Of Reach. The shortfall of doctors and nurses around the world means millions of children are dying from easily preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Save the Children releases this report as world leaders gather at the UN General Assembly in New York. Across the globe celebrities like Alexis Bledel, Ashley Jensen, and Christy Turlington Burns have joined over a million campaigners, putting pressure on their leaders to take action at the UN to make sure no child dies because they can’t see a nurse or doctor.

The new report shows how effective a health worker can be in stopping children from dying. A single health worker can reach up to 5,000 children in one year with life saving treatment, and a country with enough doctors and nurses for all can increase a child’s chance of survival fivefold. Bangladesh and Nepal, both low-income countries, are proof that progress is possible. Both have prioritised training health workers in local villages and communities; both have managed to reduce the number of children dying.

CEO of Save the Children New Zealand Liz Gibbs says health workers are our most vital resource in improving the chances of survival of children, mothers and their families.

“We live in a world where eight million children die before their fifth birthday and where children in countries with sufficient number of midwives, nurses and doctors have a much greater chance of survival. The global health worker shortage is an issue that we can no longer ignore. Global action must be taken to ensure every child has a health worker within reach,” Ms Gibbs says.

The report No Child Out Of Reach says that world leaders must realise that their unmet promises on health will costs lives.