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Med J Aust. 1993 Jul 5;159(1):46-51.

Childhood diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in developing countries.

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Division of Diarrhoeal and Acute Respiratory Disease Control, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.


In 1990 childhood diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections together accounted for 7.5 million deaths of children younger than five years of age in developing countries. To decrease mortality and treatment costs associated with these illnesses, the World Health Organization has developed standard diagnostic and treatment procedures for health staff, and is working on strategies for disease prevention. Immunisation against measles, adequate nutrition, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months, and improved water supplies and sanitation are the most important preventive measures. The 1990 World Summit for Children has set goals of a 50% reduction in childhood mortality from diarrhoea and a 33% reduction in mortality from acute respiratory diseases by the year 2000. These goals can be achieved by political commitment and a major investment of resources, but sustained support for these efforts from the medical professions is crucial.

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