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Study: Community health workers vital for reducing child mortality rate globally

  • Published at 02:39 am November 23rd, 2019
Community Heatlth Workers
A guest addresses the second International Symposium on Community Health Workers [CHWs] 2019 held in Dhaka's Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on Friday, November 22, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Infant mortality rate got reduced to 18 from 37, while SDGs target is 12 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030

Community health workers played a vital role for reducing global mortality rate of children under the age of five.

During the period of 1990 to 2018, mortality rate of children under five fell from 93 to 39 in 1,000 live births following the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 25. 

Unicef Senior Health Advisor [New York office] Rory Nefdt disclosed these findings in his key note presentation titled "Public Health Care 2.0: from Alma-Ata to Astana" during the second International Symposium on Community Health Workers [CHWs] 2019 held in Dhaka's Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel yesterday.

Nefdt along with Unicef Senior Health Advisor [New York office] David Hipgrave conducted the study to give an overall picture of child mortality around the world.

Infant mortality rate got reduced to 18 from 37, while SDGs target is 12 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030. 

Mortality rate among children aged between 5 to 14 years was brought down to seven from 15 worldwide in the last 28 years, stated the study. 

A total of 5.3 million under-five children died in 2018 where as neonatal deaths was recorded to be 2.5 million globally.  

Around 500 participants from 35 countries are taking part in the three-day [November 22 to 24] International Symposium on Community Health Workers [CHWs] 2019 starting form yesterday.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) jointly organized  the event in association with the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), and Save the Children, Bangladesh with the theme "Potentials of Community Health Workers in Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC)."

Speaking at the event, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Community Clinic Health Support Trust Chairman Prof Syed Modasser Ali said: "Community health workers have an outstanding history of providing vaccination, essential health service packages and family planning services in Bangladesh.

"To take primary health care services to the doorsteps of the rural population, community clinics have been introduced which is the brain child of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."

"Community Clinics across the country are now serving 50 million rural people and this is indeed exemplary for other developing countries," he added.

Dr Iqbal Anwar, project director, icddr,b's SHARE project of Health Systems and Population Studies Division gave the welcome speech at the event. 

Among others, Dr David Musoke, co-chair of the Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on CHWs, Uganda; Dr John D Clemens, executive director of icddr,b; Prof Sabina Faiz Rashid, dean and professor, JPGSPH; Hans Lambrecht, first secretary and team leader, Education and Human Development, EU delegation to Bangladesh; Dr Seharla Abdulahi, state minister of Health-Operation, Ethiopia; and Prof Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director general, DGHS, spoke at the event.

The first International Symposium on CHWs, supported by the USAID, EU, UKAID, MSH, Vital Strategies, Brac, Unicef, UNFPA, and WHO, was held in Kampala, Uganda in 2017. 

It showcased the contributions of the CHW programs to help achieve SDGs globally.