Promoting child health
Every year some seven million children die before their fifth birthday around the world. Common causes of death are respiratory tract infections, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and measles. It is estimated that at least two thirds of child deaths could be prevented by simple and cost-effective measures. But health care services are not efficient enough to be able to offer these interventions, especially in the poorest countries.
Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses
To improve child health, a comprehensive programme approach is promoted within the scope of development cooperation: the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI). The strategy was developed in 1992 by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and comprises a broad spectrum of measures. They include disease prevention in childhood, as well as information and education, improvement of living conditions and the treatment of illnesses.
IMCI is implemented by health care facilities, communities and families working together. This means, for example, that schools incorporate health education into their curricula. And programmes aiming to improve water supplies not only plan new water pipes, but incorporate health and hygiene education.
Germany promotes a wide variety of interventions designed to reduce child mortality and to promote child health. The following examples will give you an impression of the scope of Germany’s commitment:
- Strengthening health systems
Health services for mothers and their children are indispensible to reduce mortality rates. Strengthening health systems and promoting universal access to primary health care are thus important approaches for German development cooperation.
- Disease control
Germany supports organisations like the WHO and UNICEF when it comes to disease control. These organisations conduct targeted, nationwide campaigns, co-financed by Germany, including programmes geared to the timely treatment of diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and respiratory tract infections.
Germany supports Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This public-private partnership brings together numerous institutions, governments and the private sector, and focuses on vaccination campaigns, support for routine immunisation programmes and the strengthening of the health systems needed to deliver these services. The support that the BMZ has given Gavi has risen consistently since 2006, and reached 38 million euros in 2014.
In partner countries Germany promotes infectious disease prevention. At well-baby clinics mothers have someone they can put their questions to. The clinics also provide targeted preventive care services for mothers and children. In this way problems such as malnutrition or retarded development can be recognised at an early stage and treated.
- Health education measures
Health education measures designed to improve neonatal health are integrated into the Safe Motherhood Programme. They serve to reduce the risk of children being born prematurely or underweight. Education and information are also important weapons in preventing HIV infection.
Counselling services can impact on established ways of thinking and traditional practices, for example on the low esteem in which girls are held in certain countries or on the practice of female genital mutilation. Food taboos and behavioural rules that are detrimental to children’s health are also raised during counselling.
It has been proven that improving the level of education of mothers can do much to reduce child mortality. Germany thus promotes basic education for girls and health education in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Income-generating activities are accompanied by further training in the fields of health, human rights and management capabilities.
- Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
About one quarter of deaths among the under fives are linked to inadequate water supply and poor sanitation as well as to a lack of hygiene. Many of these diseases can, however, be prevented by taking simple measures. School health programmes, for instance, teach children which behaviour is beneficial to health.
- Issues: Children's and young people's rights
- Issues: Sexual and reproductive health and rights
- BMZ web portal: Healthy DEvelopments – Germany's commitment to health and social protection
- Issues: Education
- Issues: Water
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Health and Human Rights
Special 165 new window, PDF 297 KB, accessible 11/2009 | pdf | 297 KB | 15 P. | accessible
Human Rights in Development Policy – The rights of children and youth
Leaflet new window, PDF 471 KB, accessible 08/2012 | pdf | 471 KB | 8 P. | accessible
Young people in German development policy – a contribution to the implementation of the rights of children and youth
BMZ Strategy Paper new window, PDF 452 KB, accessible 10/2011 | pdf | 452 KB | 26 P. | accessible
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and Population Dynamics
A BMZ Policy Paper new window, PDF 314 KB, accessible 08/2008 | pdf | 314 KB | 17 P. | accessible
Sector Strategy: German Development Policy in the Health Sector
Strategies 187 new window, PDF 321 KB, accessible 08/2009 | pdf | 321 KB | 22 P. | accessible