Improve health of young children bmz

Most of these deaths occurred in the context of childbirth or were caused by diseases that could be prevented or treated. These are often respiratory infections, diarrhea, malaria and measles. If children are malnourished, do not have clean drinking water or have to live in poor hygienic conditions, even such diseases – which we believe to be harmless – can be fatal.

What Germany is doing

When many infants or newborns die in a country, there are always several causes – and there is never a simple solution to the problem.

To reduce the number of deaths and illnesses, improvements are needed in many areas besides strengthening health systems – for example, gender equality, nutrition, education, drinking water supply and sanitation.

German development cooperation is involved in all of these areas, directly or indirectly improving the survival chances of children and young people.

Professional support during pregnancy and birth

An important direct starting point for German development cooperation to improve the health of young children is to improve the care of pregnant women and mothers. This can prevent, for example, premature births, complications during birth and infections in the first days of life.

This is only possible if the women are accompanied by a professional. It must start during their pregnancy. Keep going even after giving birth. If crises occur during pregnancy or emergencies during childbirth, effective medical treatment, including resuscitation, and good care for newborns must be available. An adequate supply of medication is also essential for survival, for example to treat premature babies.

Strengthening health systems

An anesthesiologist checking a medical device in a regional hospital in Tanzania

In almost all countries with high mother-child mortality certain basic problems can be found: There are not enough trained professionals and there is not enough money for the health care system. Mothers have to bear the consequences. Her children wear.

For German development cooperation, the focus is therefore on measures that strengthen health systems.

The aim is to ensure that all children and their mothers have access to reliable basic medical care, in which, for example, respiratory infections, diarrhea or malaria are treated by trained medical personnel. Such therapies are often life-saving, especially for children under the age of five.

Integrated management of childhood diseases

To improve the overall health situation of children, Germany promotes the "Integrated Management of Childhood Diseases" in its partner countries (Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses, IMCI ). This strategy was developed in 1992 by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It includes a wide range of measures. Starts on different levels.

Germany also promotes some simple measures that have proven to be very effective and that can contribute to child survival. This includes

– exclusive breastfeeding of children for the first six months of life, – sleeping under impregnated mosquito nets and the use of effective medicines to treat malaria, – treatment with antibiotics for pneumonia, and – vaccinations against six important diseases.

Saving lives through vaccinations

Vaccination of a small child in Bangladesh

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent disease, save lives and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. A unique – if not yet fully completed – success story illustrates this: the campaign to eradicate polio (poliomyelitis) through vaccination. The number of polio cases could be reduced from 350.000 at the start of the campaign in 1988 to just 22 cases in 2017. (See also: Poliomyelitis control)

Against this background, the BMZ supports vaccination programs for children. Cooperation with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) plays an important role (see dictionary entry for the term) * ). This public-private partnership of numerous institutions, governments and the private sector promotes immunization programs and strengthens the health systems needed to deliver them.

Germany has supported Gavi's work since 2006. In the period 2016 to 2020 alone, the BMZ is providing a total of 600 million euros. This makes the Federal Republic the fourth largest government donor to the Vaccination Alliance.

Between 2000 and 2016, around 640 million children could be vaccinated through Gavi. According to the alliance, vaccination programs and campaigns supported to date have helped prevent more than nine million deaths in developing countries.

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