One of every six African children will die before his or her fifth birthday. Malnutrition, diarrheal disease, malaria, pneumonia, measles, whooping cough, tetanus, tuberculosis and now AIDS head the list of killers. And what's so striking is that almost all of those deaths are preventable. Immunization, basic nutrition, clean water and simple procedures for health monitoring and treatment can ― effectively, inexpensively ― revolutionize the long-term outlook for the African child. Africare's "child survival" programs are helping to advance just such solutions.
Three-year-old Simplice was listless, ill and underweight when his mother brought him to a medical clinic in Beriberati, Central African Republic (CAR). Thanks to Africare's child survival program, Simplice was treated for dehydration caused by infant diarrhea. He began receiving the basic childhood immunizations against measles, whooping cough, tetanus and TB. And his family learned how to prevent and combat such common ailments as malnutrition and malaria. Simplice recovered and within a few weeks was back to his active, cheerful self.
The work in the CAR took place during the 1990s. Before and since, Africare's child survival programs have brought basic medical services like those to more than two million children in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, in addition to the CAR.