U.S. Coalition for Child Survival National Poll Shows 60% of Americans Cannot Identify Top Reasons for Child Deaths

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Pneumonia, diarrhea, and neonatal complications account for the majority of deaths among children under the age of five. The national poll, commissioned by US Coalition for Child Survival, shows that Americans would like to see the U.S. do more to prevent these deaths.

In a national bipartisan poll commissioned by the US Coalition for Child Survival, the majority of Americans polled identified HIV/AIDS and malaria as the leading cause of child deaths in the world's poorest countries. In reality, pneumonia, diarrhea, and neonatal complications account for the majority of deaths among children under the age of five. This gap in general awareness among the U.S. population shows most Americans do not understand the main causes of death for almost 10 million children in developing countries every year. Although HIV/AIDS and malaria devastate families in developing countries, the youngest and most vulnerable, children under five years of age, struggle to stay alive primarily due to conditions such as neonatal complications, lack of access to drinking water, malnutrition and preventable diseases associated with conditions of poverty.

The survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners, also found that almost all Americans (95 percent) believe that the issue of child survival is an important problem facing the world today. Additionally, 93 percent of Americans feel child survival should be a priority in terms of U.S. international aid priorities.

"This poll shows that the majority of Americans do not know that most of the 27,000 child deaths that occur each day are preventable. In the world's poorest countries, children are still dying from causes that we, in America, rarely face -- dehydration from diarrhea, pneumonia, vaccine-preventable diseases such as tetanus and measles, and neonatal complications such as birth asphyxia and sepsis," states David Oot, Associate Vice-President of Health, Save the Children. "Two-thirds of these deaths could be prevented with basic low-cost services and practices such as a solution of salts, sugar and water to treat diarrhea, vaccinations, antibiotics to treat pneumonia and breastfeeding."

The poll also examined American's attitudes toward fighting these causes of child death and specific measures to do so. Those polled indicated that they support efforts to eradicate these preventable and treatable conditions, with 73 percent indicating that the U.S. should be doing more to save lives. A large majority of Americans (84 percent) support increasing funding to reduce the top preventable causes of death among children.

Specifically, eight in ten Americans (81 percent) support the U.S. Commitment to Global Child Survival Act of 2007, even after they were told it would cost $7 per American per year. The Child Survival Act will authorize increased funding to expand child and maternal health interventions, including $600 million in FY 2008, $900 million for FY 2009, $1.2 billion for FY 2010, and $1.6 billion for FY 2011 and 2012. It will allow for continued investments in proven, cost-effective international child and maternal health programs, including the Global Vaccines Initiative and UNICEF. In addition, the Act calls for greater accountability by requiring the government to develop an integrated strategy and an interagency Child and Maternal Health Task Force to coordinate activities directed toward reaching child and maternal health goals. The President will also be required to submit an annual report.

The poll results will be released during a reporter conference call on October 10 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) (tentative), Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) (tentative), David Oot from Save the Children, and Tresa Undem from Lake Research Partners will be on the call to discuss the poll results and the importance of passing the U.S. Commitment to Global Child Survival Act of 2007. The conference is open to credentialed media, and reporters are welcome to ask questions at the end of the call. The dial-in number for the call is (888) 867-5802. Media will be asked to enter the following confirmation number: 19349307.

For more information on the US Coalition for Child Survival, visit
http://www.child-survival.org/solutions.cfm

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