Call to Action: Improve access and use of quality medicines to save lives of children and newborns

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Each year, more than 700,000 children under the age of five - 90% of them in 40 low- and middle-income countries - die from pneumonia and other treatable respiratory infections. Also, nearly 7 million babies under two months experience possible serious bacterial infections. Virtually all of these children could be effectively treated with oral amoxicillin in pediatric formulations or with injectable gentamicin, two widely available, inexpensive medicines that can save children’s lives. 

It has been more than ten years since the UN Commission for Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children galvanized global and country efforts to improve access to these and other priority medicines. But in many communities around the world, too many children and newborns continue to die because of inadequate access to quality-assured medicines.  

The time to act is now. 

Collaborating together, USAID, UNICEF, the Global Child Health Task Force, GHSC-PSM and other USAID-funded projects have issued a Call to Action, which outlines four bottlenecks and lists clear action steps that countries can take now. The bottlenecks are poor quantification of need, insufficient financing, lack of quality assurance, and inappropriate use. The Call to Action describes the critical roles of country stakeholders, donors, implementing partners, and civil society organizations in driving immediate, concrete actions to improve access to and appropriate use of amoxicillin and gentamicin for childhood pneumonia and newborn infections. 

Download the Call to Action for information on how to work with your country’s child health technical working group to address barriers inhibiting access and appropriate use of amoxicillin and gentamicin in your context, and move forward to save the lives of babies and children.