A $4,000 investment can save a child’s life, shows study

Washington, July 3 (IANS) More than 34 million children’s lives have been saved globally since 2000 because of investments in child health programmes at a cost of $4,205 (Rs.2,50,000) per child, said a new analysis.

From 2000 to 2014, governments in the low- and middle-income countries spent $133 billion on child health, and private and public donors – mostly in high-income countries — spent $73.6 billion, revealed the findings appeared in the journal The Lancet.

The authors found that to save a child’s life, the average cost is $4,205 in low-income countries such as Tanzania and Haiti, $6,496 in lower-middle-income countries such as India and Zambia, and $10,016 in upper-middle-income countries such as Botswana and Thailand.

“You can spend $4,000 on many different things but there are very few places where the money would deliver the kind of impact you get by investing it in child health,” said Christopher Murray, director of the institute for health metrics and evaluation at the University of Washington.

If you invest in the poorest countries, you will see the biggest impact in child health because the costs of things like nutrition programmes, vaccines and primary care are lower, he said.

Costs generally increase as costs of interventions in countries rise.

“We believe that this scorecard can and should be used after the end of 2015 to aid in tracking progress on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development,” said Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for financing the health millennium development goals.

The scorecard can provide a warning flag to show where child deaths are increasing despite increased spending.

“If spending is going up and child deaths are continuing to rise or staying relatively flat, a country may need policy or technical assistance to diagnose the problem,” Murray added.

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