Pneumonia and diarrhoea together account for 23% of all child deaths globally among children under the age of five. They disproportionally affect poor and marginalized children, often living in fragile or humanitarian settings, who face multiple deprivations and risks, including food insecurity and lack of access to good-quality health care, safe water, and sanitation.

Investment and progress to reduce child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea are crucial for countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for child survival of less than 25 deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.

Primary Health Care (PHC) is the most efficient and effective way to achieve health for all. Resting on three pillars – integrated health services, multisectoral policy and action, and empowered people and communities – PHC provides a comprehensive approach to deliver preventive, protective and curative care for high-burden diseases, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. These Child Health Spotlights aim to provided key data on all three pillars and show where urgent action is needed to protect, prevent, diagnose, and treat the leading causes of child deaths.

This is a datawheel which spotlights the pillars in which Primary Health Care rests. These pillars are placed outside and around the weel and are: integrated health services, multisectoral policy and action, and empowered people and communities. The wheel includes on the inside every indicator the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require to reduce child deaths. These indicators are on the core and are conformed by different subindicators. The indicators are Protect (which includes subindicators Nutrition, Breast Feeding, Accountability and Engagement), Prevent (includes subindicators Immunization, Air Quality and Water & Sanitation) and Diagnose & Treat (includes subindicators Health Workers, Care Seeking Behaviour, Oxygen and ICCM).
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Over the past few years UNICEF and Save the Children have built a strong partnership on Pneumonia and Child Survival. This partnership led to the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia held in Barcelona in January 2020, where countries committed to strategic actions for strengthening PHC and ending pneumonia deaths.

However, countries are now confronted by COVID-19. While the pandemic is creating opportunities to strengthen health systems and PHC delivery, including through the scale up of oxygen access, it is also having a damaging impact on the delivery of essential services and is increasing inequities. Progress towards the SDGs, including child mortality and ensuring healthy lives for all, is worryingly off track.

That’s why, for UNICEF and Save the Children, two organizations grounded in a commitment to children, working together is now more important than ever. In producing these Spotlights, we are making key data available on the continuum of pneumonia and diarrhoea prevention, protection and care through a PHC approach. By generating comprehensive but easy-to-access datasets, the Spotlights are intended to help inform policy and decision-making at a national and global level. They are designed to be used by advocates, decision-makers, ministry officials and anyone wishing to communicate, advocate and demand action to tackle the leading threats to child survival. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are both high-burden, preventable diseases. We believe these Child Health Spotlights can serve as a valuable resource to support ongoing efforts to tackle them– once and for all.