Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsSHUNMAY YEUNG: Hello. My name is Shunmay Yeung. I'm one of the co-leads for the MARCH Child theme. And I'm leading this week's course with Joy Lawn who you met last week. I'm a senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Development, and I'm also a consultant paediatrician. I practise at Saint Mary's Hospital where I treat children with paediatric infectious disease. So in the last four weeks, we've taken a journey through the lifecycle starting with adolescence going to reproductive, maternal and then last week newborn health. And this week we arrive at the child. But before we go any further, I think it will be worth defining what do we actually mean by child.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsThis might seem like an obvious question, but it really depends on your perspective and framing. So, for example as a paediatrician, admitting a child into the ward, we usually take a cutoff of 16. But this might be different from a legal definition of what a child means. In terms of global health, most of the focus on child health has been on children under the age of five and that's because that's where most of the morbidity and mortality in childhood occurs. But that does mean that we don't have very much data, and we don't really know what happens with children between the age of five and adolescents.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 secondsAnd in this period, it's important also for development and mortality from injuries, chronic diseases, and malignancies. But putting that aside, I'm going to now talk about what our learning objectives are for this week. The first objective will be to examine the progress that's been made for child survival over the last 15 years and see where and when and why child deaths still occur. We will then we try to understand how this progress has been made, particularly for infectious diseases, looking at the examples of HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhoea.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 secondsWe'll then take a step back and look at the remaining challenges including child growth and development and why we need to go beyond the health sector in tackling some of these remaining challenges. Our fourth objective will be to gain an insight into some of the innovative science that main form new interventions. And finally, we look forward and try to appreciate the risks and opportunities for accelerated progress for child survival in this Sustainable Development Goal era. So how are we going to cover these learning objectives? Well, the week is structured like this. We'll start by examining an article which looks at the data on child deaths and try to explore the causes of deaths of children under the age of five.

Skip to 2 minutes and 55 secondsProfessor Joy Lawn will delve deeper into data and try to look at where the progress has been faster, which causes, which age groups, and which regions. And then we'll look at some of the causes where we've made the most progress, so HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhoea. And we invite Professor Chris Whitty to talk about malaria and Professor Peter Piot to delve into HIV. I'll then try and do the same with pneumonia and diarrheal disease. Then Dr. Marco Kerac will take us beyond survival and look at the importance of growth, development, and nutrition.

Skip to 3 minutes and 35 secondsAnd then we have Professor Andrew Prentice who looks at why nutrition isn't important only for the child him or herself but also into the future and the impact on intergenerational health. We take the theme of innovation and remaining challenges one step further by inviting Dr. Val Curtis to talk about innovative approaches in terms of behaviour change for tackling problems due to hygiene and sanitation and breastfeeding. Finally, we wrap up the course by looking at how money has been spent in the past decade on child health and how this looks projecting forward and ask you to try and consider what you would do if you were trying to invest in child survival and child health.

Welcome to Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 on Child Health. I’m Dr Shunmay Yeung, a senior lecturer in health policy and economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-lead for this week of the course with Professor Joy Lawn.

Throughout the course you will have seen and heard references to the progress made in child health compared to other stages of the lifecycle. While yes, this is true, and we’ve seen the number of child (under-fives) deaths per year halve since 1990 when more children are being born each year, we must still agree that this number is unacceptable when so many of the deaths are preventable.

What will we learn?

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Describe how, where and why children die, and what data can tell us about their deaths
  • Identify specific interventions and highlight their impact on child survival
  • Reflect upon potential ways to improve child survival rates

Structure and content

We’ll begin the week by examining the data on child mortality to learn about the main causes of death in childhood and how much progress has been made in the last 15 years. We will explore where progress has been fastest, why and how, in addition to where it has been slower. We will then turn to HIV, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, looking at the specific interventions responsible for swift reductions in the number of deaths caused by these conditions.

Our next activities will take us beyond mortality and surviving childhood, and discuss why it is so important to focus on growth, nutrition and development. We’ll hear about some exciting discovery science and the effect of behavioural change of hygiene practices before rounding off the week with information and discussion around donor funding for child health interventions.

We hope you find this week’s learning valuable and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

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This video is from the free online course:

Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine