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Intervention coverage - Child and adolescent health

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In nearly all cases, the diseases and conditions that cause child deaths are preventable, and are treatable with proven interventions. But these interventions remain unavailable or inaccessible to many children in the African region.

The 2010 report, "Countdown to 2015", shows data from the 68 countries where more than 95% of global maternal and child deaths occur. Of these, 39 countries are in the African region. The report indicates that most countries have high or increasing coverage for preventive interventions such as vaccinations, with measles immunization at 80%, and vitamin A supplementation (2 doses) at 73%[1]. However, it also shows that very few countries are making progress in reaching women and children with clinical care services such as skilled attendants at delivery (47%), treatment of pneumonia (43%), diarrhoea (37%) and malaria (35%)[2]. Implementation of interventions that require behavioural and social change, such as exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of six months (31%), is also low.

In sub-Saharan Africa, antiretroviral coverage for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV currently stands at 45%, while access to ART for children needing treatment is only 35%[1]. Postnatal care programmes are among the weakest of all interventions for maternal and child health in the African Region. Where there is least contact with the health system, 870 000 newborns die annually in their first week of life[2]. Figure 2 shows coverage rates of some key child survival interventions.

Figure 2: Coverage of Child Survival Interventions, AFRO 2008 Fig19section45CAHfig2.jpg

Source: WHO World Health Statistics 2010, UNICEF SOWC, 2011


  1. Towards Universal Access: Scaling up priority HIV and AIDS interventions in the health sector, progress report 2009. WHO, UNAIDS, and UNICEF.
  2. Lawn J, Kerber K, and Eds, Opportunities for Africa’s Newborns: practical data, policy and programmatic support for newborn care in Africa. 2006, Cape Town: PMNCH, Save the Children, UNFPA, UNICEF, USAID, WHO.