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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 3120854, 7 pages
Review Article

Ending Preventable Child Deaths from Pneumonia and Diarrhoea in Afghanistan: An Analysis of Intervention Coverage Scenarios Using the Lives Saved Tool

1UNICEF Afghanistan Country Office, Kabul, Afghanistan
2Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health, Child and Adolescent Health Directorate, Kabul, Afghanistan

Correspondence should be addressed to Ariel Higgins-Steele; gro.fecinu@sniggiha

Received 31 August 2016; Revised 11 December 2016; Accepted 19 December 2016; Published 19 February 2017

Academic Editor: Marcel Tanner

Copyright © 2017 Ariel Higgins-Steele et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Despite improvements in child health, Afghanistan still has a heavy burden of deaths due to preventable causes: 17% of under-5 deaths are due to pneumonia and 12% are due to diarrhoea. Objective. This article describes the situation of childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea in Afghanistan, including efforts to prevent, protect, and treat the two diseases. It estimates lives saved by scaling up interventions. Methods. A secondary analysis of data was conducted and future scenarios were modelled to estimate lives saved by scaling up a package of interventions. Results. The analysis reveals that 10,795 additional child deaths could be averted with a moderate scale-up of interventions, decreasing the under-five mortality rate in Afghanistan from 55 per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 40 per 1,000 in 2020. In an ambitious scale-up scenario, an additional 15,096 lives could be saved. There would be a 71% reduction in child deaths due to these two causes between 2016 and 2020 in the ambitious scenario compared to 47% reduction in the moderate scenario. Conclusion. Significant reductions in child mortality can be achieved through scale-up of essential interventions to prevent and treat pneumonia and diarrhoea. Strengthened primary health care functions and multisector collaboration on child health are suggested.