BEACON TRANSCRIPT – According to a new analysis by the School of Public Health John Hopkins Bloomberg, millions of mothers and children could be saved in poor countries with the cost of $5 per person. The findings were published in The Lancet journal on April 9, and prove that expanding the most basic health care services across 74 nations with low and middle incomes would save countless lives.
The expansion would include medication for severe illnesses, contraception and nutritional supplements for no less than 74 countries that make up about 95 percent of the total child and maternal fatalities of the world. Only last year, about six million children aged less than five died, while over 300,000 women died in childbirth or from various pregnancy complications.
The severity of the situation was first addressed back in 2000 when numerous world leaders decided to take drastic measures to reduce the numbers of such deaths over the next fifteen years: a reduction of two-thirds in child mortality and a reduction of three-quarters of maternal mortality, both from the 1990 levels. Unfortunately, they could not attain the so-called Millennium Development Goals.
Robert Black, Ph.D. and author of the study from Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health, has stated that many such deaths could easily be avoided if we were to design affordable treatments and health care for the populations that suffer the most. It appears that saving children and mothers from such deaths is not as expensive as one might think as it requires a minimum per person in order to expand the people’s access to medical care.
The findings were presented in San Francisco, during the Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference. According to Black, if we managed to reach ninety percent of the poor populations with appropriate health care services, we could save about four million lives each year.
In more details, the study emphasized the importance of improving delivery care and pregnancy, but also offering a better childhood nutrition and treating infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
The researchers suggest that there would only be need of a $6.2 billion investment in low-income countries and a $12.4 one in lower to middle-income countries. As for the middle-income ones, they would need about $8 billion.
While these sums seem quite a lot when put separately, they could be achieved if each person would invest only $4.70. The idea is revolutionary, but whether it will change the dire situation of our planet remains to be seen.
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