Poor child health and nutrition impose significant and long-term economic and human development costs on the poorest countries and communities, often trapping them in poverty. The greatest burden of childhood death and disease is concentrated among the poor. A decrease in the rate of improvement in child health in the past two decades has lead to widening inequalities in survival and quality of life between richer and poorer groups. Over ten million children under five still die every year, 99 per cent of them in non-OECD countries, and the poorest children are up to three times more likely to die than the richest children. This report examines policies that have been successful in improving child health, and factors which have undermined improvements, leading to such gaping inequalities in child health. Successes in child health have largely taken a comprehensive, equity-oriented primary healthcare approach, combining pro-poor social policies with efficacious public health interventions and participatory approaches. Fiscally conservative macro-economic policies and a narrowing of the primary healthcare approach largely account for the lack of recent success in child health improvements. In this context, the report stresses the importance of strengthening public health systems - by addressing financing gaps, preventing health worker brain drain, avoiding vertical approaches that are poorly integrated with public health systems, and invigorating district and community level provision.
Sanders, D., Chopra, M. (2005) CHIP Report 10: Child health and poverty. Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP), London, UK, ISBN: 1-904922-11-2, iv + 61 pp.